Introduction: Workbox and Dust Collector for Small Work Area

My woodworking projects are usually small, such as shaping, segmentation and intarsia, but sometimes there is a lot of dust. I decided to control dust by building a specialized work area. I have been pleased with the result. I have a lot less problem with dust spreading around my work area.


*** Build a work area to improve dust collection as much as possible.

*** Build a small work area where I could use several kinds of tools, such as small drum sanders, wood shaping tools and sanding mops which I use on small projects.

*** Build a small work area that would make use of my shop vacuum, because I do not have a dust collection system.

*** As much as possible, use materials already on hand.


Building this work area is not very complicated but it does require power tools. Please stay safe. Use power tools wisely and carefully. The final product will not be suitable if you injure yourself while building it.


*** Vacuum dust collector

*** Standard 3/8 drill

*** Various attachments for standard 3/8 drill

*** Scrap wood and connectors.

*** PVC pipe and connectors

Step 1: Choose and Prepare Box

I started with a standard cardboard box, approximately 18" x 10" x 11". I cut a hole in each end. I did not cut the holes until I knew approximate dimensions from subsequent steps.

It would be easy to change to a different size box, if this one proves unsuitable or too small.

Step 2: Examples of Attachments and Tools to Be Used in the Small Work Area

I have a lot of flexibility in using the work area and I still have the advantage of dust collection. Here are examples of attachments and tools that I use. Each of these can generate a significant amount of dust. There are drum sanders, rasping bits, a grinding bit, sanding mops, and a rotary sanding tool.

Step 3: Building the Vacuum Extension

I found that 2" PVC could easily be connected to my vacuum hose with a standard connector. I used two sections of 2" PVC, one elbow, and two connectors. Photos above show dimensions. I built two L-shaped holders from scrap wood. One L-shaped holder goes inside the cardboard box, the other goes outside. The PVC goes through one holder, through the hole in the cardboard, then through the second holder.

By the way, I did not use any glue on the PVC joints. I just put it together by hand. The joints are stiff enough so they stay together quite well without any kind of glue.

For stability, I clamp the outside holder to the workbench. Inside the box, I can put a standard vacuum pick-up on the PVC or leave it off, depending on the type of project I have.

Step 4: Building a Jig for the Drill

I needed a jig to hold a drill horizontally and protrude into the cardboard box. I used an extra 3/8" drill. I can remove it but prefer to leave it permanently attached to the jig.

For this jig, I used 1" thick pine.

*** Top - 5.5" x 9"

*** Sides - 2 3/4" x 9"

*** Angled wooden supports attached to the top of the jig -- 1 1/4" x 1" x 6"

I drilled a 2 1/2" hole in each side and drilled a 1/4" hole from the top, so I could mount an eye bolt in each side and use a strap to hold the drill in place. Since this drill has a 'tongue' at the top for hanging the drill, I decided to use that for extra support. Using only three pieces of wood and some wood glue, I built a small holder that slides under the 'tongue'. I cut slots in the angled supports into which the small holder can be slid.

I used a web strap between the eye bolts to hold the drill in place and pushed in two small shims for extra strength.

It is necessary to clamp the jig to the workbench to keep it from moving around.