Contractor Saw Dust Collection




About: Father, Woodworker, Youtuber.

Ugh. Dust, amirite?

My shopvac isn’t very high quality and a proper dust collection system is a long way off for me, but I’m sick of tasting pine with my evening meal. And I can’t leave anything in my shop without a thick coating of dust forming on it.

I left my bike in the shop while I made a few cuts, it now looks as though it’s been ridden through the desert, I’m over it and I need to do something about it.

The main culprit is my table saw. The panel with the dust port doesn’t fit underneath it properly, it leaves gaps on two sides which allows dust to filter through. Then of course there’s the slightly obvious problem where I don’t have the right size connector to hook it up to my vac, so I just let the dust fall down into a bucket underneath…ok, I guess that part might be slightly my fault.

But now I have a problem, so let’s build a solution!

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Step 1: Cut and Fit the Panels

I started cutting up 3mm MDF sheets to fit, I have lots of this left over from an old project.

You are placing the panels inside the leg assembly, so we cover up the big quadrangle area.

Firstly, cut the mdf to height, and then mark the required angles on it.

I cut the angles using my miter gauge and test fit them. Once it was in place, I marked the holes for the bolts. The legs on my saw already have slots through them for me to fit the bolts in.

Nothing special about the bolts I used, they're just the first ones I found that would fit, I put a large washer on each side of the sheet too.

Then do the same for 3 of the 4 sides of the saw. I wanted my dust drawer to be accessed from the front, so that's the one that I left empty for now.

Step 2: Create the Dust Drawer

To provide support for the drawer, I sliced up a spare length of 12mm mdf into two long strips which I press fit inside of the frame. They are supprted by the metal frame along one side, and on both ends. I later came back and glued these strips to the side panels, as there was a slight gap between them.

With the supports in place, I cut a rectangle panel for the drawer bottom. I also glued a small strip of plywood offcut and glued and screwed it to the front of that drawer bottom. It’s screwed in from beneath.

Step 3: Finish It Off

Then cut one last quadrangle panel to be the drawer front.

A bit of glue and some screws right through the front keep the false front attached to the drawer.I added a spare handle I had kicking around just to make it a little easier to open.

And that was it. It’s not over engineered in the slightest but it performs its task very well. Dust falls straight down from the cut and stays in the cabinet. I can let it settle, then simply pull the drawer out and vacuum it up or slide it straight into a bin.

If you have a similar saw to mine and have the same problem, give this a try.

I've had it in place for a month or so now, it has made a huge difference to the general cleanliness of the shop.

If you like what I do, check out my other instructables or my website,

Cheers, mario



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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago on Step 3

    I will be building something along these lines, thanks for showing how you did it.


    Ages ago, when I had a tablesaw, I fashioned a snorkel pickup for the shop vac that slung just below the sawblade's rear, where most of the debris is ejected. It's far more effective to gather at the point of origin than to try and pickup from the base. If a vacuum is not an option, then this drawer design is a very good alternative. I now use a radial arm saw for all woodworking and metalworking cuts, so duct control is greatly simplified.

    1 reply

    The back of my saw doesn't seem to be a huge problem to be honest, though covering the hole would still be helpful. I have a plan to cover it, I just have to find out if the product I plan to use actually exists!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have the same Oneida cyclone bolted to a 5 gallon bucket and man, it works. I also have one of their larger ones bolted to a 55 gallon drum and powered by a Harbor Freight dust collector blower and I have exactly the same results. I never have to clean out the filters.I use the smaller one with the shop vac for sanding and the larger one collects from my stationary tools.

    I did something very similar to my table saw. Well, yours looks a heck of a lot better than mine. However, I took another step and attached my shop-vac to the bottom. Then I got super tired of emptying the shop-vac out seemingly, like, every 15 minutes! Plus, the filer would get all plugged up with the saw dust, etc.

    I spent a few days trying to put together a DIY cyclone filter thing, but in the end I picked up one of these Oneida things:{CC6B6F2...

    I haven't had to open that shop vac for cleaning in over two years. Well, I do open it from time to time to check if it needed to be cleaned, but it hasn't needed it.

    So, in terms of unsolicited advice, check out something like that. Yay!

    I hope this doesn't seem like too much of a commercial... I'll attach a picture of my shop-vac rig, I guess? Somehow, that makes this comment seem like less of a commercial in my mind. Hmm, maybe I should start working on another Instructable?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I used to use a cardboard box. It caught the big stuff.

    But a little incident that I had one day kind of woke me up to a real problem. My saw was having trouble getting through a piece of Elm and was smoking a bit. That was not unusual as anyone who has cut thick hardwood knows, sometimes it smokes. But then the smoke started getting really thick. Turns out the blade had dropped a spark/ember into the sawdust pile and set it on FIRE! And the air from the saw was fanning it into a nice blaze! Amazingly I had a scoop shovel and a nice size snowdrift outside the door. So I shoveled snow into the box. After the smoke cleared out it dawned on me that maybe I needed to rethink the whole arrangement.

    SO, an improvement that I would suggest is to have a drawer that can be removed with a box that has a lid that can be closed in order to smother a fire if it gets started. Otherwise your dragging a saw that is on fire outside so it doesn't burn the building down. And you just know that a video like that would end up on Youtube.

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow that's something I didn't think about...yikes.

    Thanks for sharing, I get how it happened, but I think I'll still keep using it myself.

    I clean out the dust after every project so it doesn't build up into a massive heap, hopefully that's good enough to only make a small fire if it ever happens.

    Would Aluminum tap help keep it from burning? Maybe just put a layer or two to cover the wood could help greatly reduce the chance of fire and it would be a cheap easy fix.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Maybe I could make the same thing but with sheet metal. That might work as I do like the overall idea.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I've never seen a drawer dust collection system like this. I think it's a very low tech and easilly exicuted process. Thanks for sharing!

    1 reply