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Dust collection for miter saws

Q: Every time I use my sliding compound-miter saw, my small shop fills with dust. How can I dustproof the saw?


Phillip Madonia, via email


A: Gary M. Katz, a contributing editor and a finish carpenter in Reseda, California, replies: You’re not alone. I’ve been struggling with collecting the dust from my miter saw, too. The first thing I learned was that the dust ports on some saws work better than others. The port on my DeWalt 706 picks up almost 75% of the dust, whereas the port on my Bosch 4412 gets only about 40%. If all you have is a shop vacuum, you don’t have much choice other than to hook its hose right to that 1-1/2-in. port and to collect as much dust as you can.

But if your shop has a central dustcollection system and if the main line is large enough (at least 5 in.), you can collect almost all the dust by building and installing a rear shroud and using it along with dust collection from the miter saw’s dust port (see drawing). The shroud can be as basic as a cardboard box dropped behind the saw with a vacuum hose stuck in it. But for my saw, I shaped the shroud to look like the backstop behind home plate; the two wings pick up more dust when the saw is swung to the side to cut miters. Either sheet metal or thin plywood works as material for the shroud.

For the vacuum connection, I use a mitersaw hood made by Oneida (800-732-4065; www.oneida-air.com; part #DOR050000). I bought the hood thinking that it would suffice by itself, but it interfered with the movement of the saw and didn’t pick up enough dust. When mounted to the bottom of the shroud, though, it works just fine.


From Fine Homebuilding 157, pp. 20 September 1, 2003