Having a blast

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Never underestimate the power of hot air. Those who know me might suggest that I might be full of it. Hot air, that is.

I mentioned some weeks ago about my ritualistic cleaning of the shop after a large project. Well, I just finished up about five small-to-medium projects without a cleaning cycle, so the shop was overdue.

Now, although I have a small, traditional Delta dust collector I’ve not yet “gotten around” to figuring out how to install a dust collection system in my garage that is easily removable with a minimal amount of work should we decide to move. Fortunately, my planer has a built-in impeller that sends chips to a collection bag so it’s not a problem, and I usually hook up my large shop vacuum to some of the other machines, but not always. For the big chips and stuff that lands in piles, a broom works just fine.

But the real problem in dust collection isn’t the stuff that’s big enough and heavy enough to be broomable, it’s the true dust that’s both most annoying and the hardest to clean up. It’s that powder-fine stuff that gets in every nook and cranny. Wouldn’t be so bad if it was only in the nooks, or just in the crannies for that matter, but it gets in both. Plus the occasional crevice.

In nice weather, like it is now, on a warm day I sometimes avoid the problem by just throwing open the garage door and turning on the floor fan to exhaust the fine dust right out the door and in the general direction of the wacky lady across the street, where the spinning blade of her constantly running lawnmower takes care of it. But in the process of doing these five projects we had some chilly days, plus some rainy ones, so the garage door was closed. As a result a layer of fine dust had collected on everything.

So as I’m cleaning and watching whacko woman across the street spend an hour with her leaf blower dusting her bushes, I figured why not? I moved the floor fan to one side of the open garage so that it created a circular draft that exited the front corner of the garage door, wiped the sweat from my brow, then grabbed my own leaf blower and let loose. We’re talking clouds of dust from every nook, a few more blasts sent more clouds from the crannies. And a couple more took care of the odd crevices. 

The best part was that I also blasted several never-knew-what-hit-them spiders out the door, too, which is always a Good Thing.

Till next time,

A.J.

Don’t forget I’m looking for input from any of you who’ve been to IWF in Atlanta, for an upcoming article in Woodshop News. What’s your best suggestion for someone attending the show? What worked well for you, and helped you cover the most ground in the least time? What are your tips for making the show fun? What is the number one not-to-be-missed aspect of IWF? E-mail ideas and suggestions to me at IWFtips@yahoo.com, along with your name and shop location (city and state), and I’ll include the best ones in my article.

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Industrial arts education, often including woodshop, has been disappearing from high schools at an alarming rate. It just happened where I live.