Two things can be a real hassle when sanding. One is holding the work-piece and the other is the dust. This simple downdraft table hooks up to your vacuum cleaner to solve both problems.
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Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Circular saw or table saw
- Coping saw or jigsaw
- Framing square
- Center punch
- Drill and bits
- Vacuum hose coupler
Step 2: Lay Out and Drill a Grid
I use an old printer cabinet as a wood working layout table. It has a pocket in it where the printer used to sit. This will make a perfect place for the downdraft table. For yours, consider just building a box using the same technique.
Start with the MDF. Lay out a grid on it and drill it. This one has a grid of 10 x 13 for 130 ¼" holes. It's a good idea to countersink the holes.
Step 3: Make the Vacuum Chamber
Cut a piece of plywood of appropriate size to cover all the holes in your drilled grid. This is the floor of the vacuum chamber. Also cut strips of plywood wide enough to accept your vacuum hose coupler and appropriate length to attach to the sides of the vacuum chamber. Using a butt joint as shown here will require you to cut these strips to the length of the side PLUS the thickness of the wood you're using. In this case ¼".
You'll notice my sides are not that tall. That's because I'm putting my vacuum coupler on the bottom.
I was only able to find two of my corner clamps, so I could only glue two corners at a time. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Glue two corners and let them set up. These will make the sidewalls of the vacuum chamber. Glue the edges of the floor and clamp the walls onto the floor with bar clamps. Apply caulking or construction adhesive to the interior of the joints to make a vacuum seal.
Since this is using ¼" plywood, it's probably a good idea to make a couple of support strips to go in the middle of the floor to keep it from bowing in under heavy vacuum.
Step 4: Cut a Hole in the Vacuum Chamber
Cut a hole in the vacuum chamber of appropriate size to accept your vacuum hose connector and glue the connector into place with construction adhesive.
Step 5: Glue It Together and Use It!
Apply a generous amount of construction adhesive to all the mating surfaces of the vacuum chamber and glue it to the MDF top. Set some weights on it or if you prefer, attach a vacuum hose and block the holes to let the vacuum apply the clamping force.
When the glue dries, hook up the vacuum and try sanding something. No more breathing dust and the work piece is held nicely in place.
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