My Shop Sucks (Almost)

I started hooking up the ductwork for the dust collector this morning.  I looked at all of the obvious options for materials to do this — PVC, HVAC supplies from Home Despot, Nordfab tubing, spiral tube.  I was pretty stunned at the cost for ducting, you could easily spend as much or more on the ducting than you spent on the dust collector itself.

After I priced out the different options I discovered that the HVAC ducting from the local big box store was the cheapest alternative.  As much as I hate spending money there I braced myself and took the plunge.  The downsides of this setup are that the bends are a little too tight, and the crimped ends could cause resistance in the flow.  Or maybe a disturbance in the Force, I forget.

I’m using 6″ tube and fittings everywhere, including 6″ flex hose for the the last few feet to connect to the machines, with a reducer right on the machine.  The flex tube, blast gates and floor sweeps are all on order from Penn State.  They should be here by Friday, so next weekend I should have everything hooked up and working.

I started out by just dry assembling parts according to my layout.

Roughing in the First Stretch

Roughing in the First Stretch

After I got the first few parts test fit it was obvious that I needed to start locking things down because everything was on teh verge of falling apart.  I ran some sheet metal screws into the joints and got the first bit mocked up, then added some strap hangers and duct taped the duct.  This is the first time I’ve ever used duct tape on ducts, kind of a novel feeling.  Usually I put in on hot rods and welding fixtures.

First Run Locked In

First Run Locked In

I need to pick up 2 more “wyes’ and maybe one more length of straight tube to get the second run roughed in along the wall where the dust collector and table saw are.  The opposite wall where the jointer and planer live is ready to add the blast gates and hook ups.  All of the junctions are screwed and then everything is sealed with duct tape.

This side is roughed in, waiting for more parts to finish

This side is roughed in, waiting for more parts to finish

I’m taking a short break, then I’ll probably make a run to the store for supplies and finish the rough in.  Tomorrow I’ll try to assemble the extension for the table saw and do a little cleaning and organizing.  I need to design two or three wall cabinets to hold my planes, saws and other hand tools.  And finish my workbench.  The end is in sight, I can’t wait!

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5 thoughts on “My Shop Sucks (Almost)

  1. Lookin’ amazing! Almost done. How big is your jointer? It looks enormous.

  2. It’s a 12″ jointer with a segmented cutter head. I measured up some of the wood I had on hand and realized that with anything less than a 10″ jointer I’d still be dimensioning all my stock by hand.

    I unpacked the extension support for my table saw last night and have no idea how to install it. No instructions in the box, just a parts diagram. So I know how it goes together, but no idea on how it attached (or more accurately, *where* exactly it should attach to the saw). So I’m stuck on that until I can get a hold of someone at General in Canada. I also discovered that I was missing a few parts for the table saw, it took three days of calls and emails to get a response from them, which was a little frustrating. Now that I have a contact there I hope I can get this all sorted out this week.

  3. Pete


    I used to put 2 elbows together and turn the pieces to get a long sweep elbow when needed to miss an obstruction… (Don’t know what things cost today.)

    • I tried doing that – combining two elbows to get a larger radius – but I couldn’t get it to work right. The result wasn’t a smooth bend but was lumpy, wiggly and uneven. If I have problems I’ll probably buy some large radius elbows and splice them in as necessary.

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