Sunday, December 18, 2011

Changing My Dusty Hand Tool Ways

Yes.  It's true.  Hand tools make dust.  Lots of it.

I do a relatively good job of controlling dust from power tools - they are all hooked up to a 3hp cyclone, which does a great job.  It's not permanent, I have to move a flexible hose around to the bandsaw, lathe, planer and the table saw.  But it works pretty good.

Not so with hand tools, mostly planes.  The shavings pile up, and the dust with them.  Think your planes don't make dust?  Turn out all your shop lights, and plane by the raking light of a flashlight.  'Nuf said.

Here's a "Before" pic:

I was busy making some cutting boards, doing all the flattening and smoothing by hand.  Cuts were made with the bandsaw.  But there was tons of dust, chips and shavings.  And I made the mistake of coming in the house (one of the hazards of an attached garage shop), without cleaning off.  OOPS.  It doesn't help that it's the Christmas season, and everything in the house is supposed to stay spic and span constantly.

So I trudged back out to the garage, used compressed air to clean myself off, and trudged back in the house and proceeded to vacuum the entire house.  The things we do for the sake of women!  As I was using compressed air to clean my clothes, I stirred up all that dust.  Yuk.

I decided to make some major changes.  One:  Get my Rigid shop vac set up with the Clearvue mini-cyclone, and put it in a very handy spot under the end of the bench.  Very convenient for immediate use.

Two: Install an air cleaner, and use it.  The Delta was on sale recently.

Three:  Instead of blowing dust around, vacuum it up at the source.  I no longer use compressed air to clean my tools, clothes, benchtop, or anything.  I vacuum it up.

And now things look much better.  I'm making an effort to take the occasional "vacuum break" during work, and also vacuuming every time I leave the shop.

The next steps would be to have continuous vacuuming while planing with either the big cyclone running, or replace the Rigid with a Festool.  If I equipped it with one of those overhead arm things, it would always be handy.  Both the big cyclone and the Rigid are to noisy to run continuously, so I would prefer a Festool.  Another item to budget for.....but these steps have made a big improvement already.

And the cutting boards are coming along nicely.

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