Today’s discussion was about the ‘elephant in the room:’ Dust! It’s the biggest health concern when turning wood. Dust is not only bad for our lungs. It also causes problems by coating everything in the shop and makes finishes gritty. Many photos were contributed for this topic so half of them were included here and the topic will be continued at another session.

Mark Oglesby

Mark has been setting up his dust collection system. He has a Shop Fox dust collector which has a chip separator that he’s not currently using. The hose is currently hooked up to his drum sander and he looks forward to hooking it up to other equipment in the future. He recently raised his Jet air filter to the ceiling. Besides those dust collection tools, he recently ordered a PekeSafety Powercap dust mask to protect his lungs in the shop.

Bruce Butler

Bruce’s shop is in the basement and his dust collector sits on the part without concrete. The hose runs along the floor into the other section of his shop. The position along the floor has less kinks and bends so dust flows more easily through the system.
The price of hose or piping is expensive so Bruce created a supporting attachment for the lathe and then disconnects the hose and moves it to five other pieces of equipment in his shop when needed. This photo shows it attached to the lathe.

He uses a wireless remote switch that he’s attached to his turning smock so that he can remotely switch the dust collector on and off. The cost is about $23 at Amazon. It accommodates 120 or 240 volts and up to 40 amps. When buying a remote, it’s important to check all the electrical needs of the equipment to make sure it will work. A member had blown out a circuit board on some equipment because he was using a remote that was undersized for his needs. The remote Bruce uses can be found at:

Bruce had originally placed the funnel in a vertical direction but changed to horizontal to catch more chips and successfully prevent them from falling on the floor.

Sucking objects into the dust collector system is a problem. Bruce has placed a wire basket inside the funnel to catch larger items such as sandpaper, pencils, paper towels, rulers, etc. and keep them from going into the duct. This was a shampoo holder that he’d found at Bed, Bath and Beyond that was the right size for the opening. Another member had taped a plastic mesh bag from oranges to the outside of the funnel to catch large items. It was decided that a strainer wouldn’t have large enough holes to be useful and would affect the air pressure in the system.

Gary Frank

Gary has mounted his ‘black hole’ funnel, which he bought from Craft Supply, behind his lathe. It has two arms and he can easily rotate it to fit his needs when turning. There are bars inside that keep big things from being drawn into the ducting. It’s hard for sandpaper to go through it. However, when he’s turning something with big streamers, they can be blocked by the bars and he frequently has to clean it out.
He has a Dyna 2 HP dust collector with a chip separator on the floor below it. He’s mounted carpet on the left side to deaden the sound and has thought about adding more along the floor. The yellow plate is an automatic blast gate from a company that, unfortunately, has gone out of business. The gate automatically opens when he uses his table saw, but he has a mechanical gate to open when using his chop saw.
Along the duct on the left, he has two of the yellow green automatic gates. The left one is for his bandsaw and the right one is for his lathe. He has a length of tubing curled at the bottom of the stack. There was a need for a utility vacuum for cleaning the area so he put in a Y and a manual gate so he could use that tubing for that purpose.
In his whole system, he has 5 or 6 automated gates and a series of mechanical gates. His system has evolved over time. He started with PVC and then changed some to metal tubing. He added bare copper wire to dispense static charges. Someone mentioned that there is wire in the flexible tubing that could be connected to ground so dust doesn’t stick to the outside.
Gary has two air filters hanging from the ceiling and wears his Powercap vent hood or an N95 mask at all times while in his shop to protect his lungs.

Bill McDonald

Bill’s 2HP Jet dust collector is kept in a separate room from his shop and piped up through the ceiling. On the top is a handle that spins and drops the fine dust into the HEPA filter in the back of the system. He has a remote to turn it on and off without walking into that room. The cylinder below is a separator to collect the larger chips. About 99% are larger, heavier pieces that drop into the separator while the lighter dust stops in the HEPA filter.
This photo shows the PVC pipe that carries the dust throughout his system. A blast gate opens the line that goes to his lathe. A Y joint works better than a 90° joint since it doesn’t plug up so easily. Loose sandpaper can cause a problem by plugging up the system at joints.

His black hole funnel is located behind the lathe and has bars in it to keep big things out of it. He built a ‘shroud’ on a frame with adjustments that allow him to adjust the angle of the funnel to the area needed.

Bill has a small hose (like those used with Cpap machines) attached in the funnel so he can suck the dust out of the bowls he’s turning and doesn’t have to use the air hose.

The PVC pipe goes all around his shop for a distance of about 60 feet. It’s grounded to reduce static but does collect dust on top of it. He used aluminum tape to attach the lengths of pipe and keep the system from leaking. It’s not glued together in case he has to clean out an area. He does have a T joint but should have had a Y joint for better air flow.
The hose on the lower part of the photo is the one that goes to the lathe (in an earlier photo).

Bill has two lathes and both are connected to the dust collection system. This photo shows the floor sweep and the blast gate above to be opened if he wants the dust on the floor to be drawn into the system.
This view shows the connection of the dust collector to his band saw.

Mike Mitchell

Mike built this fan from a couple of 12-volt computer fans to blow dust away when he’s power sanding a project.

This funnel is located at his carving station and is connected to his dust collection system. He used 6” PVC pipe and epoxy to fuse the PVC to the black housing since the correct size wasn’t available. He drilled small holes in the PVC and used electrical bell wire that he wove across the area to prevent big things like paper towels or sandpaper from entering the system.

These blast gates from the Clear Vue Cyclone dust collector system provide a view of materials going through the system. Mike has two 4” outlets on his band saw so he ran both lines to it through this system.
The 6-inch Clear Vue blast gate is opened one at a time as needed.

Six-inch sewer pipe was used for the system along the ceiling with Y angles that provide a good flow through it. Two 45° angles were used instead of using a 90° at any point. Stranded copper wire from Rockler is wrapped around screws for grounding. Non-insulated small gauge copper wire could also be used. The yellow tie at the top is used to prop up the gate that doesn’t always stay closed because of its vertical position. Information about dust collectors can be found at:

Mike wears this Sundstrom respirator since he’s very allergic to dust and pollen. It was purchased from Woodturners Wonders ( He made a harness so he can wear the filters on the belt. It has Bluetooth as part of the hearing protection and he’s able to receive and respond to phone calls with the microphone.

His system is routed to the lathe (in the back), his table saw (front center) and the router table (on the left). He moves the flexible hoses to the area needed when using the dust collector. He has two Jet air filters on the ceiling. He also has mounted copper pipe in a 10’ square around the lathe with 5’X8’ clear shower curtains to contain the chips when turning. The chips drop down along the plastic. (It was also mentioned that an old ironing board makes a good outfeed table for a table saw.)

Mike built an enclosure for his dust collector with sound insulation on the inner walls. The next few photos show more details. Due to a lack of wall space in his shop, he stores many of his jigs on the outside of the enclosure. He put handles to help when opening the door due to the extra weight from the jigs.
The door swings open to show the Powermatic 3HP, 50-gallon dust collector with a micron filter. Everything in his garage needs to be on casters but sometimes they get caught in the dips in the floor. The handle helps lift it over the dip. A member suggested that small rebar can be placed in that gap to level out that area.
There is a hole in the top of the container for heat release and two holes on the side for the emergency shut off button and the vacuum pressure gauge.
The black sound insulation was applied on all side and the top. He uses a remote to turn the system on and off.
To the left is the carving bench with the wire grid covered piece shown in a prior photo. A blast gate closes that section off until needed. On the left is another view of the branch that goes to the table saw which is in front of the golf cart.
This view shows the pipe along the ceiling that goes to the lathe and the shower curtain barrier to isolate the dust and chips.
A piano dolly from Harbor Freight was used as the base for the black hood that was carved to fit around the PVC pipe. Screws were added as support for the epoxy as it was fitted and sealed together. There are handles on the support sides to make it easy to move it around and sweep the area below the lathe.
This photo shows how the flexible hose comes down from the pipe. He had to carve out the plastic on the back of the black hood since the contour was different than he’d expected.
Another view.
Other comments: It would seem that a 4” fitting should fit into 4” pipe, but that doesn’t necessarily happen. The vacuum hose and PVC are often more difficult to fit. Rockler makes a 4” adaptor for things that are not quite 4” but if you use it, you’re locked into their system of fittings. The Clear Vue fittings are an odd size. A heat gun can help with sizing pipes if used carefully.

An article about a piece shown during ‘show and tell’ was on the AAW website. It was called ‘Turning Six Diamonds’ by Peter Exton.

More pictures and comments about dust collection were submitted than there was time to include in this session. A ‘Dust Collection, Part 2’ discussion will be part of Chips and Grits in the coming months.