View Full Version : How many people REALLY have DC in their shop?

11-22-2005, 12:25 PM
Hello all,

So I'm curious, how many of us really have a working dust collection system in our shop and how many don't?

I have about 3/4's of a 2 car garage for my shop, which I believe is fairly typical, and I would be really hard pressed to find room to add a DC now. I also find the cost involved and the hassle of running conduit to be really unappealing.

Anyway, I'm basically of the opinion that my DC system is going to remain to be my broom and a dustpan. Just wondering, am I alone on this? How many of us "primitive" non-DC types are out there? :)

11-22-2005, 12:36 PM
I have a largish portable (it's on wheels) 2HP dust collector that gets used now and then in conjunction with the jointer, chop saw, or router table. My RAS and contractor saw don't really facilitate collection so they require a broom and dust pan or snow shovel.

11-22-2005, 12:39 PM
I share my shop with LOML's car and I have a dust collector. I have to hook it up to 1 tool at a time, but it isn't that much of a hassel and the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.

The one I have is Jet's cannister unit and it only takes up a couple of sqare feet of floor space.

Bob R

11-22-2005, 12:44 PM
For the first 10 yrs I used a shop vac for my dust collection,
it worked but was painfully loud and could only do one tool
at a time. My shop has always been in my basement so I had to
have duat collection. Before I had a dust collector I would
take things outside to rout or belt sand.
That got pretty cold in the winter.
Since I got a dust collector and small vac for my sanders I stay
inside and have much safer air to breath. Yes, it keeps my air
much cleaner. I really think I couldn't do without it now,
only wish I'd gotten it sooner.

Jim C.

Super Ry
11-22-2005, 12:45 PM
I have a 2 car with no cars in it. :) Granted its more than most. I have a DC with 6" piping along the ceiling and 4" drops. I'll be rerouting it later this year to end up with a better designed system.

11-22-2005, 12:48 PM

I built one using scraps for the RAS and it catches at least 90%. Here's a link to some pics if you're interested:


I don't have the DC hooked up in the pics, but I believe you can see the 4" port on the back of it.

Bob R

11-22-2005, 12:53 PM
Sears sells a pick-up hood for a radial arm saw,
I got one and it works pretty good.
When I'm not using it I stuff a rolled up sock in it.

When I had a contractor saw I screwed plywood sides and
a bottom to the legs. I put a hole in the back for the dust
collection and a hinged door on the side to scoop out the sawdust.
By having the DC pickup mounted 1 foot above the
bottom it only picked up the fine dust and didn't get clogged
with any thin strips that falls past the insert.
I had to scoop out the dust about once a month.
It worked really good.

Jim C.
"no wood before its time"

11-22-2005, 12:59 PM
My shop is a dedicated shop, but quite small. I have a DC on wheels. I move it (and everything else) to facilitate the job at hand.

Fir na tine
11-22-2005, 01:07 PM
My shop is in my basement. Before I bought my dust collector I could work for an hour or two at most and then had to lay down and let my sinuses drain. The dust really bothered me. Now, I can spend the whole weekend down there without coming up for air!

I also bought a 40 foot "el cheapo" plastic hose from Amazon for 10 or 20 bucks. I can drag that puppy anywhere and catch 99% of the dust I'm making. Ran one pvc pipe to the area where I have my tablesaw, everything else gets the plastic hose as necessary.
- - - - - - - -

Cody Colston
11-22-2005, 06:47 PM
I've got a 20' x 30' dedicated shop with a 3 hp DC and 6" ductwork. All of my tools except for hand-held routers and circular saws have DC capability and I use it. I've come to regard the DC as the most important tool in my shop.

I've also got 2 shop vacs. I keep one hooked to the ROS and the other as a roving unit to help keep the escaped dust in control. I HATE SAWDUST!!!!!!!!!

At least once a month I also get the leaf blower in there, don a dust mask, open the doors and try to blow off any accumulated dust from the horizontal surfaces.


Learn from the mistakes of others.
You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

11-22-2005, 07:06 PM
Well, I'm a member of the 2 car garrage shop club and I've yet to get a DC. Though I would love to have one, I'm still lacking a few key woodworking tools that have a higher priority than the DC unit. I'm pretty sure that most eveyone that says the DC unit is the most important tool in the shop probably already have all the main power tools for the shop and didn't pass up the jointer/planer/router table/whatever to get the DC first.

The point is, are DC units important and worth the money? Absolutely! Should you buy one before getting that nice 8" jointer you've been wanting for so long. I don't think so IMO.

I know there are a few on this forum that put air quality above all else and thats great. But for me its much more economical to throw on a filtered mask when i'll be making alot of dust that to get a DC unit and all the duct work. At least not until I get that 18" bandsaw ;)


Chuck in NC
11-22-2005, 08:47 PM
I have a 20 x 24 detached shop. I use a Delta DC on wheels. It remains stationary and I have a length of flex hose I move to the jointer, planer, TS or router. It's not too much hassle and it significantly cuts down on the airborne dust and shop cleanup time.

I bought the standard el-cheapo garbage can cyclone separator to separate large stuff out.

If I didn't have the DC I couldn't imagine working in cold weather with the doors open.

11-22-2005, 09:57 PM
I am in the NO DC club. Well, I use a shop vac when LOML and the kids haven't piled too much crap in front of it. But hey in a garage shop you just kinda open the door and turn on a fan FREE dust removal. I have two ceiling fans in my 2 car, and that kinda makes free dust stirring at least. I agree with the previous poster that the "DC is the most important" people did not pass up a nice new tool to get one.

Just between you me and the fence post I have been suggesting (she calls it badgering) to my wife that I need a nice dust collector. those Jet ads with the x-ray of the lungs always help me. But much like bicycle helmets, I have been doing without for so long that I am not horribly worried about any "effects" that I might get from not complying with the fad of the moment.

as an example, my best friends dad owns a gigantic stash of hardwood. He does not own a bandsaw. so when he wants an 18" wide 1/2" thick board he just sticks a 2 incher in the old planer, and sets a garbage can near it to catch most of the chips. He has yet to develop lung cancer, though he does make me curse loudly with his largesse of wood and the way he uses it. but on the other hand, I get to take his "burnin" scraps every now and then, you know 6-8" wide 2-8' hardwood. it is enough to make you cry

11-22-2005, 10:22 PM

The difference is Dust collection and chip collection. The latter is to clean up a mess and the former to save your lungs. Since you are only issued two, it is really important to protect them. This can be done with a NIOSH mask, but most will not wear one for long periods, hence the need for r dust collection.

I believe that a DC that will collect down to at least 1 mic is one of the most important tools in the shop. Either that or a good mask. Sometimes, like when sanding, I use both! With most tools, except planers, you can get effective DC with a couple shop vacs with upgraded filters.

Of course the above only applies to folks that are in the shop every week, like I am. If you get out there every other month, your exposure is minimal. Make sense? Your shop, your lungs, you get to make the call.

Good luck.


[center][link:garageshop.org/ | Visit the Shop]

11-22-2005, 10:50 PM
Fir na tine wrote:
"I can spend the whole weekend down there without coming up for air!"

:o :o :o :o :o :o :o YOU DA MAN!!!!!!!!!!!

"I just don't understand...
I've cut it three times and it's still too short!"

[link:www.mgsawmill.com|M&G Sawmill]. Makers of the finest sawdust in Texas. Oh, did I mention we have hardwood as well?

11-22-2005, 11:13 PM
Less than a 1-car garage myself, with dust collection - permanently plumbed to the stationery tools. Reading Bill Pentz' site scared me into it :P

11-23-2005, 12:25 AM
I have the trashcan cyclone separator permanently hooked up to one big shop vac and I move the hose between the planer and the jointer when in use.

The table saw, SCMS, router table, bandsaw and ROS all share a second shop vac that gets rolled around and hooked up as needed. It's not real effective, but better than nothing.

I only plan on living in the current house for a few more years, so I don't want to make a big investment in DC right now. But when I retire and move someplace less crowded and build my dedicated workshop, it will have plenty of DC built in.

11-23-2005, 07:25 AM
I have the same set-up. Well worth the space it takes up.

11-23-2005, 11:40 AM
I have 1/2 of a 2 car garage, and no DC. But I don't even have a table saw yet, so a DC is pretty far down on the list of purchases. I pull my wife's car out when I'm making a lot of dust - and the circular saw I use for cutting plywood sure throws off a lot of it.

I use a shop vac hooked to my ROS for sanding, but other than that, I don't hook it to anything - just suck the dust off the floor at the end of the weekend.

When the weather's warm I'll open the garage door and blow a fan out - and in the winter when it's cold I duck-tape a couple furnace filters to a box fan for a home-made air filter.

- Kevin

11-23-2005, 02:05 PM
I've got a Grizzly G1029 DC in my garage that does a great job.


11-23-2005, 02:25 PM
I have a the HF 2hp DC with a long hose that I attach to one machine at a time.

I do have a vision of hooking it up to all the machines with ridgid piping some day.

11-23-2005, 07:20 PM
I have a 850cfm unit. It sure keeps the dust off my wife's car (that way, I don't have to wash it so often). I have a single hose to connect to whatever piece I am running. I use a homemade separator for my planer and jointer.

11-24-2005, 09:09 AM
" I'm pretty sure that most eveyone that says the DC unit is the most important tool in the shop probably already have all the main power tools for the shop and didn't pass up the jointer/planer/router table/whatever to get the DC first."

Not true. Not even close. I have a 1 car garage shop. When I was first building it, an old friend said "you need some provision for dust control." A tv cabinet made of MDF convinced me he was right. So when I saw the delta on sale for $99 bucks, I got it. This was *before* I had a router table, or a jointer, and I was still using a benchtop table saw. The big surprise: just as some things I made for safety (like featherboards) actually improved accuracy, so the dust collector greatly improves the performance of various tools. Jointer, planer, router table, saw... all work better with the DC hooked up.

Even if I still lived in San Diego, I'd go for a dust collector again, very early on. It's worth the space, and it's absolutely worth the expense. I'm better with it, and believe me, I need all the help I can get... ;)



11-24-2005, 10:03 AM
I agreeBill,

A small DC unit was purchased teh same time I got a Delta CS tablesaw. I had a BT3000 before the Delta and my shopvac took care of DC very nicely.

Getting a DC is clearly a personal decision. I just like to rmeind folks that a DC is far cheaper than a lung machine!


[center][link:garageshop.org/ | Visit the Shop]

11-24-2005, 06:31 PM
Hey Glen...I'm likin that canoe! Is it cedar?

11-24-2005, 10:47 PM
My shop is in the basement(garden level with man door from garage to basement shop) and I had to get a dust collecter in order to stay on the good side of my wife. I have a 1500cfm 2 HP unit plumbed with 6 inch to two 4 inch drops. One drop dedicated to the table saw and the other to which ever tool I'm using. I also have an overhead dust filter. When both units are used together I have little to no dust at all, and if this makes my wife happy then I'm happy to.

11-25-2005, 04:25 PM
I have a small shop (10x16) and have run clear flexable 2.5 inch vac hose around the rafters with blast gates positioned at each tool. I use a shop vac and open the blast gate to the tool I'm using. This works well for me, but I'm a duffer, not a pro.

11-25-2005, 06:17 PM
My shop is a dedicated 24x40 shop with a HF DC It worked fine until Katrina showed up.

I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days...
Very Good Days :) :) :) or just Plain Good Days :) :). I just refuse to have bad ones!!!

May you have at least a Good Day today, Jeff

Jim_J Lazy 3
11-25-2005, 09:03 PM
I run my cabinet business in a very small (24x30) converted garage shop. I have the tools alright, and heat with a wood stove, and dust collection was an important consideration from the git go. My health, overall safety, and minimizing fire hazard were all equal considerations, as was space. So, I built a 4'x8'enclosed "lean-to" on the outside of the shop (on a plywood covered pallet floor), centered on a window. The lean-to is 7' tall, and the extra width allows both my Kofa 3hp 2 stage DC, and a 60 Gal upright Air Compressor a place to live.The 220v outlets are out of the weather, as are the 2 tools. I simply removed the slider window from the frame, and replaced it with a 3/8" plywood panel the same size, with a 6" hole cut out, and then elbowed and plumbed in the 6" galvanize overhead main line. I run 4" drops from the main to dedicated tools like the Planer,Drum Sander, and Tablesaw, but utilize 4" flex hose for less intensely used tools like the bandsaw,Shaper, and Router tables. I even have a drop for a necked down 2" flex hose over the assembly table to attatch to my hand held sanders when needed. Each drop has a blast-gate on it, so I can minimize suction loss by closing gates as neccessary. (Dual drum sanders need every cfm you can get). I ordered my DC set-up with .5 micron bags.I'm into it for less than $500, and actually bought it before some other things. About the only real dust maker left is the cut-off saw, and I have a Rigid shop vac on it, but I really need to make an enclosed shroud box, and pipe a 4" line to it. Time and space are my only constraints!
With the DC outside like this, and the Compressor too for that matter, (less mess draining water/oil from the tank now!)I have more precious space in the shop, less noise, and the mess from emptying bags is outside, so the shop and all my tool motors stay cleaner!!
My advice.... don't delay, get dust collection TODAY..........Jim

02-02-2006, 11:11 PM
I started out in a 10' x 14' shed for my woodshop. terribly inadequate and very dusty in such a small space. about 6 years ago I built myself a "woodshop" 28' x 50'
the first tool I bought after getting the shop built was a 2 hp reliant dust collector. One thing I did shortly after installing it was take the bag stand off and piped the exhaust out threw the wall. More suction and no dust getting threw the bags into the shop.


02-03-2006, 07:20 AM
Hi Mike,

Welcome to the forum!


There's a shop to dream about! I checked out your web photos too. Outstanding work on the gun cabinet!

David C.

02-03-2006, 08:06 AM
Yep, really nice.

As to the original question of the thread, I've just recently acquired the other half of our two car garage to be used for shop space and even so I am exceedingly crowded in there. My DC system is comprised of a little portable Delta DC which is set up within reach of my bandsaw, lathe and planer. The hose for the DC gets switched from one to the other as they get used. The DC only gets used on the lathe when I'm sanding and on the bandsaw when I'm gonna being resawing or using it for a large number of other cuts. It mostly stays attached to the planer.

The shop vac is connect to the tablesaw, and is within reach of the stationary belt sander. The belt sander doesn't get much use anymore so mostly the vac stays attached to the TS. Chip collection for my old jointer is a cardboard box under the area of the most discharge when the jointer is being used. This one predates dust collection.

Cody Colston
02-03-2006, 09:21 AM
Welcome, Mike.

That IS a dream shop and the view is terrific. That gun cabinet is outstanding, too. I've got a commission to build one and I can only hope mine turns out half as nice as yours.

Where is Sundance? I drilled a well once on the east flank of the Teapot Dome but I'm not very familiar with the state except for Casper and Cheyenne.


He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep
for that which he cannot lose.

02-03-2006, 11:04 AM
hey Cody,
Sundance is a small town (population 1138) in the North East of the state right off interstate 90, 30 miles West of Spearfish SD or 90 miles West of Rapid City South Dakota. About a 4 hour drive North East of Casper.

Sundance, where the Kid got his name. Sorry, reminded me of the movie Doc Hollywood.

The gun cabinet took me about 2 months to build. It was a christmas gift I made for my dad. I never got around to taking pictures of it after we got the beveled glass in it. All told I wound up with close to $2100.00 in materials. I had several people around here ask me what I would have to get for it if I were to sell it. I told them with materials and labor I'd need to get at least $10,000. Most thought that was pretty high, that's why I mostly do the woodwork thing as a hobby. Not many people around here willing to pay me enough to make a living at this.

Thanks for looking at my pages. Always nice to here what other woodworkers think of my work. ~Mike

Heres a link to my weather station pages for Sundance, if your interested.

02-03-2006, 03:46 PM
The shop is in a 2 car garage. And I share space with a truck, motorcyle, snowblower and other stuff. Everything is mobile.

I have a 1.5 hp JET DC, no piping, just a 10 ft hose I connect to each machine, as I use it. I would not trade this set-up for the world!. Before this I nearly went deaf with a shop vac, and I had to empty it 2-3 times a week (if I was busy). At the end of the day everything rolls away into the corner.

carl civi
02-03-2006, 05:29 PM
Hi,for years i just used a shop vac for collection,but i know i have to change my ways and am.i just bought a 2hp HF 15 or 1600 cfm.DC.it is being shipped now.Anxious as to weather i made the right choice on the HF model.Glad to see that others use it.Now figuring how to set up in my basement shop.I have two rooms in the basement,all the cutting and milling is done in the one unheated room.My work bench and CMS band saw and lathe is in the another heated room,no tool is more then 25` away from another.I`m tired of the vacs.Carl

02-04-2006, 07:42 PM
I've got a portable that I haven't used much yet. I have to finish getting it hooked up to piping, or get a section of hose so I can move it from machine to machine.

Pastor Paul
http://webpages.charter.net/chalosi/usaC.gif http://webpages.charter.net/chalosi/usaC.gif

"If they don't have woodworking in heaven, I ain't going!!!"

02-04-2006, 10:48 PM
I currently do not have one. :( I plan to buy the HF 2hp unit within the next week and use the blower housing/fan/motor to make a Cyclone unit. :)

"I just don't understand...
I've cut it three times and it's still too short!"

[link:www.mgsawmill.com|M&G Sawmill]. Makers of the finest sawdust in Texas. Oh, did I mention we have hardwood as well?

Sonny Edmonds
02-04-2006, 11:25 PM
My shop is a 20'x 20' two car garage.
But I have better dust collection than many commercial shops. A total of 3 1/2 HP. :9
The 2HP Woodsucker cyclone (modified) dumps into a 55 gallon open top type drum. the final filter has .5 micron filtration and dumps through my compressor closet so it cools the big lungs and dampens the noise.
Under the central area of the shop lives a 1 1/2 HP dirty air booster blower that kicks to the overhead 6" collection manifold.
Proper dust collection makes my shop a joy to work in because it stays clean.
I also have my shop vac on a manifold system to clean up whatever gets away from the big system. 4 gated connections for 2 1/2" hoses, one at each corner of the shop puts anywhere within a 10' hoses reach.
Because it discharges into the collection barrel for the DC, it muffels the shop vacs roar, and when the cyclone is running the cyclone boosts the suction of the shop vac system considerably.

Because the cyclone is mounted high on a wall so that much of it is above the rafters, and the manifold is just under the rafters, and its cone and drum are below. It uses about a 2' x 2' colume in the shop, centralized, on an outside wall. And is all 240 volt. I can select the booster blower off, and use the main system alone for more than adiquate collection at either wood lathe.
Thus only needing 2HP for the lathe work.
Or select it on for tremendous suction at the stations in the central area. Including a 5HP Delta Unisaw, a downdraft table, SCMS, two router table stations, a drill press station.
Plus it has a gate for my rolling equipment to connect with shorter 4" DC hoses to a blast gate and power supply for them to plug into. 120/240 VAC there. That takes care of planers, a jointer, and an 18" bandsaw.

A good "yardstick" would be that I make my own custom moldings. Rather than paint good wood for interior moldings, I machine custom moldings from sheets of 3/4" MDF. I machine the blanks by ripping them from sheet stock, trimming to spec, and machining them with multiple passes on my router stations in the wing table of the Unisaw.
And all with a power feeder moving the stock at a consistant rate for flawless runs. You can't do consistant molding without power feeding it.
Anybody who has ever cut any MDF, let alone routered it into molding knows that you'd get buried and choked to death in very short order without very good dust collection.

I swear by my dust collection. And I never have to swear at any mess in the shop do to not having the dust controled. ;)
More fun, less crap to deal with. ;)


[link:home.att.net/~paul.edmonds/|Sonny Edmonds ]
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !
One Nation Under God!
"Lurkimus turdius orifus"

02-05-2006, 03:16 AM
In Sept., I moved from a 24x40 shop into one that is roughly 12x16.
First thing I did was order a Pennstate 850cfm, one H.P. D.C.
One ten foot hose and a quick disconnect. Should have done it years ago. Even found the right dust hood for my original 540 12" Delta Planer. Best $300 I ever spent. I am planning to get a garbage can and seperator. Even with a larger shop, for one man, I see no need for more D.C. or central ducting.

02-05-2006, 08:06 AM
I've been using a Shop Vac and just bought my first real DC. Only cost a few hundred including the 1 micron bag and so far I'm a fan. I'm using it as a portable for right now; will add pipe on one wall so I can hook it up once for TS, router table, sanding station and will keep it "portable" to move the the area for my jointer and planer.

02-05-2006, 02:29 PM
Thanks Dave,
The shop was a dream for me too. Only thing now I wish I had made it bigger. Seemed pretty large when we were putting the trusses up. Course I don't think you can ever build them big enough, always get filled up with tools and wood, eventually ;-)


02-05-2006, 09:52 PM
Work for a while with both a portable DC and a centralized system. The central system is a lot nicer to use on a day to day basis, even in a one man shop. FWIW I couldn't imagine working in a shop without at leas some sort of dust control anymore.

02-06-2006, 08:48 PM
I do.

And I'm really glad I do.


Jim_J Lazy 3
02-15-2006, 01:00 PM
Jack, awesome looking router table... I honestly have been thinking the same thing, mounting 3 routers into 1 table. I seen a shaper set up that way once, and that's where I got the idea. So, is this an original design? Does the DC work down the center for all 3 routers? If you have any other info,pics,etc. that you'd be willing to share I'd really like to see them. I regularly use 10+ routers in my shop, and the thought of organizing precious floor space with a setup like this is very interesting to me. Thanks for sharing!..............Jim@JLazy3

"The only thing certain in life ...is uncertainty!"

03-03-2006, 10:04 PM
you can see what ive done here http://www.woodworkersweb.com/modules.php?set_albumName=albuu31&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php . WOODTEK sells a shaper of this design that i used as a ideal. the unit works and well....rebel

Sonny Edmonds
03-03-2006, 10:52 PM
How come people viewed your short fingers 278 times, much more than your other pages?
Probably same reason they go to the races, huh? ;)

Good to see Ya again! :D


[link:home.att.net/~paul.edmonds/|Sonny Edmonds ]
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !
One Nation Under God!
"Lurkimus turdius orifus"

03-03-2006, 11:44 PM
that aint nuttin. they looked at it 2,300 times over at http://www.woodshopphotos.com/main.php?g2_itemId=9107& . guess one look wasnt enough:D .

where ya been buddy? out on parole?}> :P :7 ....rebel

Sonny Edmonds
03-04-2006, 10:37 AM
Sold my bike, put some more money with that, bought a pontoon boat, added my personal touches to make a fishing/party barge out of it, went fishin, had a blast, fishin got winter slow, got PO'd at some snot nosed twirps on the fishin forum, decided to see if I was still welcome back here. The IQ here is much higher as well.
Aside from some lawn decorations, and a few small projects, I haven't been shop active hardly at all. Did some big home improvement projects though, tile and some concrete work.
Goin to play at the Colorado river next weekend for 3 days. that'll be fun to get out of "Dodge" for a bit.
Got to go move some dirt around and fill in some Grandkid holes in the backyard. Pentence for my own childhood adventures in my own backyard. :)

Other than that, not much I guess. ;) LOL!


[link:home.att.net/~paul.edmonds/|Sonny Edmonds ]
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !
One Nation Under God!
"Lurkimus turdius orifus"

06-02-2010, 09:11 AM
i didnt have a DC till about 3 weeks ago. i didnt think it was that hard to clean up the shop after making a mess. i finally decided it was time to add one not for "dust" but to keep the tools cleaned during use. ive always had a dc in the cabinet shops ive worked for but didnt think about one in my own. since i put one in its been a pleasure to know i dont have to pull a broom...

the first picture is what it was like before the DC. can you imagine running this router table in the second without a DC?....jack

Mark F
06-02-2010, 09:11 AM
My shop space is also half of the garage. Until recently I didn't have anything but a broom and a shop vac. After I bought a planer, I started thinking about DC since the shop vac filled up so quickly. I bought the delta AP300 for about $90 in a closeout sale last year. I wheel it around to different tools. I can connect it to everything, but sometimes for quick cuts etc. I don't even get it out. It works especially well on the planer, jointer and router table. All of my tools are on wheels, so sometimes I just wheel them out into the driveway and let the dust blow away.

Mark F

06-02-2010, 09:11 AM
I've a decent working system when I turn it on. A quick chop here, a short rip there, maybe a hurried edge treatment and your in the sawdust!