Dust Collection, New Router Table
Comments 13

New Router Table: Adding Dust Collection

In a video at The Penultimate Woodshop, Dyami Plotke is interviewing Fine Woodworking magazine art director Mike Peckovich. The subject turns to dust collection and Mike says:

You know, dust collection – I used to be pretty cavalier about it. The notion that my dust collector is a broom and a dust pan. But, you know, I have become more sensitized to wood dust over the years. And in terms of the information about the hazards of wood dust; it’s a real hazard and I think it is something you need to take seriously. So I think upgrading to a real dust collection system is not a horrible idea.

Dust collection is a subject which should be near and dear to all power tool woodworkers. I recently turned 53 years of age and among the things I would pass on to a young woodworker would be to embrace effective dust control as soon as possible. As an older woodworker (not an old woodworker), dust has become a health problem since it can shut down my nasal passages pretty quickly. Mike Peckovich is becoming sensitized to dust; I am already there.

As I use power tools the dust generated is a constant reminder of what is airborne in my workshop and more importantly, what migrates to other parts of my home impacting both my wife and my daughter. For this reason, controlling dust should be a serious consideration for the woodworker with a home workshop.

Since I completed my router table, I can now connect dust collection to it. This gives me the opportunity to fine tune the main dust lines that run to my tools. At present, I have dust collection connected to my table saw and my jointer. I have never gotten around to connecting my old router table, my band saw, my thickness planer or my miter saw to my dust collector.

Here is a layout of my power tools and the dust lines.

My old dust collection setup.

My old dust collection setup.

Something I added about a year ago was a two-inch line which rested on my table saw surface, held in place with magnets and was dedicated to collecting dust coming off the saw blade (indicated with a red arrow above).

Tabletop dust collection, March, 2012.

Tabletop dust collection, March, 2012.

The tabletop dust collection you see above was a moderate success. It caught only a small amount of dust coming off the saw blade, but was handy to have enabling me to easily clear my table surface of dust with a brush. But, this week, I made the decision to remove it.

The upgraded dust collection plan.

The upgraded dust collection plan.

Thinking through the necessary connections to my router table got me thinking further about fine tuning my dust collection lines in general. In the image above, the red arrow points to the connection to my router table fence. The blue arrow indicates the connection to the router table cabinet and the green arrow points to a floor sweep I have been wanting for quite some time.

Note the fittings and the ring clamps.

Note the fittings and the ring clamps.

With the out-feed table in place.

With the out-feed table in place.

Slowly, over the past several days, I added the needed fittings and hose to connect my dust collector to the router table. This is mostly no-fun work. The wire which runs through the flexible hose has a sharp edge when cut and several small cuts to my fingers developed as I wrestled with the connections. The goal was to make the hose as tight to the router table and table saw as possible.

I then proceeded to add a floor sweep positioned under my jointer.

Inserting a Y fitting into my dust line.

Inserting a Y fitting into my dust line (note the handsome Mohawk carpet tile).

The floor sweep installed.

The floor sweep installed.

This part of the upgrade led to considerable cussing. The area below my jointer is a tight space and the four-inch hose was fighting me all the way. I secured the floor sweep to the concrete with exterior double-faced tape.

Then it was time to test the upgrades…

A successful test.

A successful test.

My initial cuts using my new router table were awesome. I took full depth cuts, in the photo above I am using a 3/4 inch round over bit. Virtually no dust on the table surface and the suction in the router cabinet itself was excellent. So, I am pretty pleased at this point, and the floor sweep works well also.

As I made the upgraded connections to my dust collector which will translate into me using the dust collector more frequently, the weak link in my collection process will have to be addressed. The weak link: the dust collector itself – it doesn’t catch fine dust. So even though things like a drill press and a hollow chisel mortiser are on my short list for the next power tool purchase, I am going to have to put upgraded dust filtration at the top of the list.

So, that is it for my new router table. My next project will be a new miter saw stand…

The John White designed miter saw stand from Fine Woodworking magazine.

The John White designed miter saw stand from Fine Woodworking magazine.

I need this desperately and I’ll get to work on it very soon.

NEW WOODWORKING PLAN: How to make a large painted bookcase – this plan covers the construction of a bookcase I built for a co-worker and was designed to be simple to build, yet stylish. See the free plan by clicking here.

Previous posts in this series
New Router Table: Getting Started
New Router Table: Making Progress and Making Mistakes
New Router Table: Drawer Construction
New Router Table: Adding the Base
New Router Table: To Lift or Not to Lift – That is the Question
New Router Table: Creating the Top
New Router Table: Building the Fence
My New Router Table is Finished


  1. Dave says

    I’m impressed. It took a not so gentle push from my wife to put in a collection system…and have to say I thank her for it. I would rather of bought my drill press, which is still on my short list.

    • Dave, I know exactly what you mean. Buying a better filter for my dust collector is boring compared with a new power tool or hand tool purchase. But I’ll enjoy a cleaner basement with one. 🙂

  2. Filtration or a cyclone? You might want to look at the later idea first if you aren’t already using one.

    • My DC is a Delta 50-850 which uses a 5 micron bag as standard. I had always wanted to upgrade to a 1 micron bag, but the 1 micron bag seems to be discontinued. Curious, why would you go with the cyclone first?

      • My understanding is because the cyclone is a more efficient use of your power. Since the heavier chips and debris falls out the impeller has a greater chance of pulling out the smaller particles. I don’t have the link, but the Wood Whisperer did a video not long ago on some simple systems he tested. But you may also be able to integrate a cyclone into the setup you already have. It’s worth a little time online looking into the idea at least, esp if you’re concerned about getting more dust out of the air.

  3. I probably will do the cyclone first, since getting the 1 micron bag appears to be a challenge at this point. Thanks for the input.

  4. David Scott says

    Jeff – you are right on about dust collecting. Mesquite and cedar are two that will tear up my sinuous the most.

    When I decided to become a construction inspector rather than follow my Dad into woodworking one reason was seeing all the old timers who’s life have been in woodworking constant hacking cough and usually a bad case of CBP.

    So I choose a life outside breathing cement and lime dust along with just your typical dusty construction site.

    I liked your solutions when I settle into our next place I think I will try to put in some dipstick control.

    • I certainly understand the frustration with spell checkers. My iPad and iPhone can be maddening. I have a long way to go on dust control, but I am determined to get there.

  5. ya i agree…Dust generation is one of the major problems in all kind of industries. Through different processes, the dust is generated and is mixed with the surrounding air. In addition to this, in manufacturing industries, a metallic dust is also generated by the operations like grinding, buffing, drilling, milling etc. Both types of dusts have bad effects on the human body.

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