After a lot of research and a lot of thinking, I’ve decided, well 98% sure anyway, to keep my SawStop JobSite saw.
There’s a lot of reasons, one of them being I don’t want to deal with a 4” dust collection port.
But the bigger picture is that I don’t want a lot of high end equipment in my shop. That’s not an image I want to project in my YouTube videos. You don’t need high end equipment, and I don’t want people to think they do.
You might say “But you’ve got a SawStop already, and people think of that as high end”. The biggest reason they know it’s a SawStop is because the fence says “SawStop” on it. I know the table top says it also, but it’s not as obvious. So what am I going to do about the fence?
I’m going to build a new fence
The fence is my single biggest complaint about this JobSite saw. The problem with the fence is that if you want to “sneak up” on a cut by unlocking the fence, tapping it over a little, and locking it again, the fence can move when you unlock it, and will probably move again when you lock it. The locking mechanism is horribly designed.
So I’ll be building a completely new fence, probably using a design from someone like John Heisz or similar. I just need the locking clamp to lock underneath the rail - I don’t remember if John’s does that or not.
A while back I cut a piece of UHMW plastic that fit perfectly in the track on the rail, and if I combine that with an under-rail locking clamp, I’m highly optimistic that will be a great solution. Time will tell, of course.
Dust Collection, Redux
I’ve learned a lot about dust collection recently. It turns out that fine dust particles are a big health risk. And apparently these aren’t picked up much by shop vac-based dust collection systems. So, get a big dust collector, right?
Not so fast.
Harbor Freight’s dust collector is a lot of people’s choice for affordable dust collection. But did you know that, and I quote from their website, it “Filter[s] particles as small as 5 microns” (emphasis mine). Apparently you want to filter out particles down to .5 microns.
In other words, the HF dust collector just picks up the fine dust particles and spits them back into the room, somewhere else.
And this seems to be true of most dust collectors, unless you add special filters. Which take up even more room - room I don’t have.
But here’s the kicker:
For tools with 2” dust ports, which all of my tools have (or smaller), a true dust collector probably won’t grab the fine particles much better than my shop vac system does.
This is something that people don’t seem to want to talk about. So let me say it again.
Since all I have are tools with 2” dust ports and smaller, chances are that no matter what dust collector I have, most of the fine dust particles won’t get picked up.
So it seems to me that keeping my existing dust collection system is just fine. I wear a respirator rated at .3 microns. And I have an air filtration system.
It’s not a perfect solution. Fine dust particles remain in the air after turning off the equipment. So I should probably keep my mask on most of the time.
But apparently I can help by opening my garage door, and using my big shop fan to help blow some of the fine dust out of my garage. So I may be doing that more often, at least until it gets unbearably hot.
People who tell you that you have to have a “true” dust collector or you’re risking your health, are full of it. The truth is, you may be risking your health, even with a true dust collector. It’s just not a simple subject.
Of course, I may end up being wrong, and come back and retract all of this.
So do your own research.
After that? Either enjoy your woodworking, or quit because it’s too dangerous to your health.
I’m kidding. I think.
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