Router Dust Collection: Less Mess, More Control



The first thing about router dust collection is to make sure that your machine is properly set up for the job and is cutting cleanly. The last thing you want is for hot particles to enter your saw dust collection system.

If you can smell or see smoke, either the router bit is not sharp, or you're taking too much of a bite at one go which stops the cutting tool running freely.

Hot wood particles from the router can ignite in the wood dust collector's airflow and cause a fire in the dust hopper.

Dust collection attachments supplied with most routers consist of a hood above the cutter with an outlet for a shop vac. These attachments obscure your view of the cutter's operation and are not very effective at catching the dust.

Router Dust Collection: Edge Routing and Trimming

When using a router for edge trimming, the cutter is mostly in the open and dust gets thrown everywhere. The best way to control this is to attach a duct to the bottom of the router base plate.

Rockler woodworking offer the Whirlwind Dust Port which attaches to a base plate, (also supplied by Rockler), and connects to a dust collection system.

This is only good for edge routing and will not allow dust collection when suface routing.

Router Dust Collection: Plunge Routing

A better solution that accommodates both plunge and edge routing operations is the Betterley Stacc-Vac router base.

This is a hollow router base machined from aluminium which incorporates an outlet for a dust collection hose.

The advantage of this system is that not only is it very effective in collecting dust, it allows a clear view of the workpiece and the operation of the cutting tool.

Router Table Dust Collection

Dust collection from a router table needs a collection facility both above and below the table. Above the table keeps the workshop clear, and below the table prevents the router motor being clogged with dust and overheating which can lead to burn out.

Here's a simple kit from Keen Products that's easy to install. What I like about this is the flexible silicone cup beneath the table that allows adjustment and cutter changing without removing either the router or the collection fittings.

All of these collection systems for router dust are good value, but if you want to make a homemade dust collection system, they will give you some good ideas about how to set about it.

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