Skip to main content


Remembering to open a blast gate is a pretty basic first step in effective dust collection.

I’m thrilled with my dust collection system. It was an evolving process to not only get it extended to every part of my odd-shaped woodshop, but to every machine. And it’s really effective, with my shop cleaner than it’s ever been.

My two most dust-intensive machines, at least in the sense of volume and size of the chips, are my jointer and planer. For that reason, they’re on their own Y-shaped section split off from the main duct. There’s a blast gate at the main duct for this section, as well as individual gates on the jointer and planer. Efficiency is my middle name.

AJBLOG-1068 image

During a recent milling session, I had edged and faced a quantity of rough stock on the jointer. Then it was off to the planer for final thicknessing. Simple. Just close the blast gate on the jointer, open the gate on the planer, and I’m off to the races.

I opened the planer’s gate, but instead of closing the jointer gate I stupidly closed the one on the main duct and started planing. Cut off from the main duct, there was no suction at all happening on that section, but my planer’s internal impeller happily shot out chips like a champ. Of course, it had nowhere to go but down the duct to the Y-connector, and then double back to its only exit – my jointer.

Due to my machinery arrangement, my back is to the jointer when planing, which is why I didn’t notice the mess piling up behind me. As it happens, I was so blissfully unaware of what I’d done that I would have just kept on planing away had my wife not come into the shop and asked why there was a veritable geyser of chips flying up out of the jointer.

Related Articles

AJBLOG-1007 image

My little corner or the world

Remember your very first real shop? Sally was digging around through photographs and came across a picture of my very first real, permanent woodshop. Oh, I’d been woodworking for more than a decade, but it was always in a not-a-real-shop location, like the patio, driveway, porch or any other area where I could swing a hammer and make some sawdust.

AJBLOG-1039 image

A fitting conclusion

I finally fixed something that’s bothered me for years. It took some scavenging to do it, though.

AJBLOG-1065 image

Choosing sides

Sometimes the hardest part of a project is the first step: Picking which side of a piece of stock to be the one everybody sees.

AJBLOG-1067 image

Block assistant

After more than four decades of woodworking, there are still some basic things I can’t do. For those, I get help.

AJBLOG-1033 image

Gotta be this or that

Trying to remember things in the woodshop often comes down to a case of opposites.

AJBLOG-1000 image

No. 1,000

The old proverb goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I wonder how many steps I’ve taken to reach this point?

AJBLOG-999 image

Dusting for dollars

I clean my woodshop frequently, but lately I’ve been feeling pangs of guilt at how much money was ending up in my dust collector.

AJBLOG-842 image

Missing a woodworking legend

I learned the other day that Roy Doty passed away a couple years ago. I hadn’t known, but I’ll sure miss him. He gave me my first introduction to woodworking – before I could even read.

AJBLOG-1056 image

When I wasn’t looking

It’s amazing how some tools evolve for the better when you’re not paying attention.