May Sales
Table Saw Dust Collection Tips
posted on by

table saw dust collection hoodIf you're like most woodworkers, a table saw is the most often used tool in your shop. Getting adequate dust collection to it should be a primary concern. But not all table saws are set up to make dust collection easy. Open based contractor saws present a particular dust collection challenge. Below two experts offer a few tips on the subject:

Q. What is the best method of collecting dust from a table saw? I have a Craftsman. I could build a box below or incorporate a port on the blade guard. Which is more effective?

A. Michael Dresdner: "Most of the dust from the table saw goes below the blade, not above it, so a box would be my choice."

A. Ellis Walentine: "Neither is totally effective. Dust coming off the top of the blade can be extremely annoying and is typically finer in size, but by far the greater amount of dust is carried downward by the blade.

"For this reason, I'd build an enclosure with a dust port under the saw chassis first. Remember that if your saw is a contractor's type (with the motor cantilevered out the back), it can be tricky to close off the opening, so your dust collection may be less than wonderful, but it will be better than none at all. You can improve the performance of the dust collection if necessary by providing more CFM (cubic feet per minute) on that branch duct."

From the Woodworker's Journal eZine archives

Fortunately, you don't have to build all of the components of a table saw dust collection system yourself. Rockler offers a universal Table Saw Hood that will significantly speed up the process. The table saw hood can be quickly fitted to most open based table saws and attached to standard 4" Flexible Dust Collection Hose in a couple of seconds with a Keyed Hose Clamp. Or, if you own a portable table saw with a 2-1/4" ID (inside diameter) dust port, use a Hose Adapter to connect it to 4" dust collection hose.

As you read above, the dust that dust that churns out of the top of your saw (in the general direction of your face) is a little tougher to catch. And while there's less of it than the amount that goes downwards into the body of the saw, it can still fill your shop with clouds of fine dust in a matter of seconds - all the more reason to supplement your dust collection system with an air filtration system, and to outfit yourself with effective personal respiratory protection.

posted on January 15, 2007 by Rockler
previous post next post

27 thoughts on “Table Saw Dust Collection Tips”

  • Francis Horton
    Francis Horton April 2, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    Regarding the question of a vac system for a sears contractors saw. I used a four inch collector that just fit inside my saw bottom, and hooked the hosed to it. I then made a plate to close off the back with small slots just big enough for the belts to slide thru from the side. I used velco straps to hold it in place, that way I could quickly take it off if I had to cut a 45*. It actually worked better than the factory system on my Delta unisaw. My Delta saw does not pull the dust down from the blade, I even packed holes in the sides with fiberglass to inprove suction, Francis Horton, 160 River Ridge ln, Statesville N.C. 28677

  • Charles Buster

    I have a Sears 10" contractor's tablesaw and I have one of Rockler's dust collector hoods pictured on the page above. The motor is off the back and outside the frame. I took a piece of clear plastic and cut it to fit the opening in the back of the saw and screwed it in place. I DO have to remove this plate for moving the blade at an angle but by adding this plate, I improve the suction and dust removal.

  • Has anyone had problems with the static grounding wires clogging the dust collection hose located at the joints where the ground cable or wire comes to the outside of an elbow joint on the end toward the dust collector? I did and I have a solution: I found that every where the ground cable/wire came back to the outside surface chips and slivers of wood would build up on that end clogging the hose or pipe. By connecting only to the outside at the leading end of the run (example: the saw end)and coiling it down the outside surface allowing the wire to run internally and loose on the end toward the collector could not capture the debri. At each elbow I connected to the outside coil and then ran a wire back inside to the next joint, again not connecting it on the opposite end only letting it hang inside the interior surface loosely. This worked well and I have had no problems with static. I have about 100 feet of hose. Hope this is clear. I will attempt to clearify if required

  • Mike Calo

    I faced the same quandry with my own 10" tablesaw. At first I was going to handle it using a connection to my central dust collection system - until I realized that, unless I wanted to either keep tripping over the hose running to the underside of my saw(DANGEROUS with a running saw) or install a raised floor in my workshop (EXPENSIVE option to do correctly) I would have to opt for the "Less Mess" snap-on dust collection bag. True, it only gets the stuff that falls UNDER the saw, but it's the cheapest, safest option, and it's better than nothing.

  • John Dickinson
    John Dickinson April 10, 2007 at 3:34 am

    My solution is quite simple, largely because the Bosch 4000 in my little garage directs dust off the bottom of the blade out an exhaust port on the back of the saw. <br /><br />I hook my Fein Turbo I (see next article) to the port on the back, and the machine stays almost entirely clean. It worked almost as well with my Craftsman shop vac. <br /><br />The saw is so light that after each use I tilt the saw up on its side and vacuum down any remaining dust. I have the gravity rise stand, but before I did it wasn't much more difficult to clean out underneath. <br /><br />Small shops have to stay especially clean and the Fein-Bosch combo makes it very easy in mine. <br />

  • Aaron

    I'm in the process of building a case for my table saw for dust collection. I'd thought about simply closing the back of the saw (sans holes for the motor mounting and belt) like Francis and Charles. But I have seen a design for a cabinet that surrounds the motor and closes off the back. The advantage is that you can put melamine plywood on the top and use it as a n extension on your table saw.<br /><br />My question is whether this could create issues with the motor and dust and such? I was assume that since I'm vac'ing it out, not so much so, but I don't want to shorten the life of my table saw motor either.<br />(don't know if I can include URL's, but it is a variation of this design...<br />I didn't buy the plans, I'm building it myself using the table saw hood I got from Rockler)

  • sam

    I learned a lot about the hazards of wood dust from this informational site I recommend any one with a wood working shop to take dust collection seriously. After I read this site and the experience this guy went through I bought a little dust collector and had this contractor install it for me…<br /><br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br /><br /><a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a>

  • Chuck Lenz

    Dust collection on Contractors table saws has become a myth to the point that most of the general public believes it can't be done. I'm here to tell you it can. The big issue with everyone ofcourse is the open back of the cabinet. One of the mistakes people make is they think they need to completely seal up the saws cabinet. The dust collector needs fresh air to run efficiently. I suggest to seal between the top and the cabinet and the bevel slot in the front of the cabinet, and then partially close the back for fresh air to enter in that direction.

  • Chuck Lenz

    One other thing is that the Generic shallow trayed plastic hood / port that is made for table saws is ineficient and obsolete. I redesigned a hood / port for my Delta Contractor's table saw and you'd be suprised at how much dust it takes care of. At the end of the day there is very little dust inside the cabinet.

  • Roger Ransom

    This is a question for Chuck Lenz.
    Do you have a drawing or picture of the contractor saw hood/port that you made for your Delta Saw?
    I read about various peoples solutions but I never see what they look like so I can try to duplicate any of them?
    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

  • Charlie

    Sure Roger, you can go to this website to see one of my first designs.

  • Todd

    I just corrected this problem on my Craftsman contractor style saw just this last weekend. I cut a 1/4 inch plywood bottom to fit the lower cabinet and cut a port into it for a fitting to plug my shop vac into.
    For the rear of the saw where the motor sticks out and needs to be able to pivit for bevel cuts I installed a curtain of heavy flexible strips of reclaimed rubber. These are somehing I had on hand but could be made from heavy plastic strips hanging
    down. They cover the vast majority of the opening and thereby concentrate the vacuum in the compartment and keep most of the dust trapped under the saw so the vac can grab it. They are also easily moved to accomidate the motor when it is pivoted.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Roger, yes I have pictures and detailed drawings.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Actually I asked Ellis Walentine to remove my first design from Wood Central because I have improved the design, for some reason he refuses to do it.

  • Frank Farrell

    Guys, Most older table saws don't have the efficient dust collection of modern ones, but functionally they are just as good, so one doesn't want to get rif of them. I solved my problem with a 25 year old Craftsman Cast iron by removing the trunion, buying some fiberglass matting and resin from AutoZone, and using cardboard, masking tapee, and the fibergalss was able to mold a cowl directly to the cast iron trunion that leads to a 4" collector hose. I had to cut a slot in the side of the saw for when I moved the blade to a 45 degree angle, but it works like a charm.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Well that sounds ok Frank, but for me I like to restore old machinery and try to keep a piece of machinery intact as much as possible. I'm also kind of a stickler for makeing an addon look as professionally done as possible. I also strongly believe that you won't find a more efficient and user friendly setup then what I have designed.

  • Ron van vug

    I agree with Chuck ,You need fresh air. Put the suction hole on the left side, the air intake hole on the right so the air flow created by the saw blade gets disturbed and doesn't shoot out the top as readily.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Here is a link to a better explanation of what I have done to my Contractor's table saw.

  • Tony

    I know that totally enclosing the back of a contractor saw is not good for motor cooling, but I was wondering if anyone ever thought about totally enclosing the saw
    (including the motor) with a dust collection box and installing one or two muffin fans in the enclosure directed towards the motor that could be wired directly to the saw's on off switch.
    These fans are readily available for use in 120V systems for under $10 on Ebay.
    This could solve multiple problems.
    1) Being able to angle the blade without concern for any cutouts (simplified construction);
    2) Directing dust away from the motor;
    3) Providing additional cooling for the motor with air from outside the dust collection box.
    4) The fan(s) would turn on automatically when the saw is started.
    Additionally this seems like it would provide a "one-way" opening to improve air flow through the entire system keeping dust and chips from the atmosphere.
    It could easily supply the 12- 20 square inches of "leak" areas that I have seen mentioned in this and other strings.
    My only concern is that the air flow from a DC could overspeed these small muffin fans.
    I am thinking about trying this on my contractor saw. Any thoughts?

  • Chuck Lenz

    Tony, did you look at my setup at all ? and read it ? It isn't something that I just threw together in an afternoon. I have alot of time into the design, and trust me, it works VERY well.

  • Tony

    I am not questioning your design! On the contrary, I think it looks quite professional. But I al not a Metalsmith and I just thought I would ask a question.
    I didn't know that this was your site and people should not ask legitimate questions. Don't get all bent out of shape.
    I thought it was a public forum where people could share ideas. Agsin , sorry for invading your space.

  • Rockler Blog Team
    Rockler Blog Team June 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Just to make sure we're all clear, this is a blog, and these are the comments. In this case, it's starting to look a little like forum, but we've been enjoying the conversation and all of the great information. We hope it continues in the spirit of woodworkers swappin' ideas with woodworkers.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Sorry Tony, It's just that I worked so long and hard at perfecting it. I've been useing it for a while and I'm very happy with it. And I can understand that not everyone is a tin knocker, so this last winter I took the challenge of building a dust hood for underneith the saw out of wood, and a couple other easily obtainable items. The cost of materials was very minimal.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Tony, I realize that not everyone is a Tin Knocker, so this last spring I put together a dust hood thats made out of wood and other easily obtainable and economical materials for under the saw.

  • Chuck Lenz

    Tony, as far as covering the whole backside of the saw, motor and all, Fine Woodworking had a similar type setup and used it as an outfeed table also, which are really nice to have. But, I chose not to go that route because I was afraid that if I ever droped the abor nut inside the cabinet, that it would probably be a major chore to retrieve it, plus I remove the motor on the saw at the end of the day so I can scoot the saw up against the wall in our garage / shop. If you decided to go the FWW route, you probably wouldn't need fans if you had air comeing in around the motor going to the DC.

  • Mike G

    HELP !!!!!!!!
    Just got a "woodhackers" table saw from Sears with dust collection bag underneath '''''STINKO'''' !...the saw dust still blows back at me, next to none goes in the bag, and the bag doesn't hold the "fine' dust...ANY PROS'S OUTHERE WITH A SUGGESTION ? (please don't tell me to use it as a boat anchor)

  • Chuck Lenz

    I'd like to clear something up on one of my earlier comments. Ellis did remove my earlier design from his site, and I thank him for that.

Leave a comment