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by Steven D. Johnson
Racine, Wisconsin

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The Dust Collection Series – Part One

Click on any picture to see a larger version.

Since moving into my new shop, a portable inefficient bag-type single stage dust collector has collected most chips and re-circulated most dust back into the air. From the very beginning of construction, the plan was to install central dust collection in the second floor attic space. I even ran a 220-volt line upstairs in anticipation.

The focus and impetus, however, was on getting the first floor shop area completed, get my tools set up, and get back to work. The second floor never really got "finished." Throughout my first spring and summer in the shop, about all I managed to do was temporarily mount some fluorescent lights from the bare roof rafters and shove scraps of lumber, seldom-used tools, jigs, and junk into every nook and cranny. As fall turned to winter, I worked around an increasing collection of clutter and added insulation between the rafters and stowed away still more "stuff." During my second summer in the shop, some wafer board was added to cover the insulation and rafters, I put in a gable vent fan, installed new windows, and, of course, stowed away some more junk. But now it is time… my old portable dust collector just isn't cutting it.

Originally the plan was to install the dust collection system at the end of the space, next to the north wall, but that placement would block a very enjoyable window, so I have opted now for a space more toward the middle of the room. Of course this means that the 220-volt line I ran is in the wrong place, so I will have to re-route that cable.

The wall (ceiling?) sheathing stopped just shy of my temporarily mounted lights, and this has to be redone and finished correctly. The unfinished peak of the roof funnels heat up and out of my shop… okay in the summer, not so okay in the winter! The lights have to come down, switched 110-volt electrical routed, the ceiling finished, and lights put back up.

Both ends of the space (the gable ends) were painted, and a little leftover paint was dabbed on the wall/ceiling above my sharpening bench, ostensibly to enhance the lighting (it didn't). The way OSB soaks up paint it will probably take another 10 gallons to finish. And, of course, the space has to be cleared out. I'm not really a packrat… I don't keep everything… but now I am going to have to be even more cavalier in what gets tossed and more circumspect about what gets kept. Discipline and organization will get me through this ordeal.

By next month, I expect a fairly significant transformation to have occurred upstairs. And it better, since the dust collector has been shipped. Oh my…

Picking which dust collection system to purchase is the subject of this month's video. The video demonstrates the use of a "decision matrix" that relies on data, compensates for unique needs and situations in your shop, negates emotion, and logically leads the user to a purchasing decision… sometimes a surprising decision! The "decision matrix" template is available (free) to readers of Wood News Online; just click HERE or on the photo to the right to download your copy.

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