When you start using a mitre saw, and especially for the first time, you might be really surprised by the amount of sawdust that one of these can produce. The actual amount produced will pretty much depend on the type of wood you are cutting.
That is not really that important, but suffice to say, that plenty of dust is produced in a very short space of time. It is well known in the industry that trying to extract dust from a mitre saw is actually quite difficult. Not only is it a nuisance, but it can over time build up inside your saw and cause sticking of the turntable.
Any sawing activity creates dust, from a simple hand saw to a full blown table saw. If you have bought power tools such as planers or circular saws, then you will know that many of them come with a dust outlet. You also normally get some type of small canvas bag that can be attached by a clamp to help reduce the dust.
We will bet really good money that garages and workshops up and down the country are littered with these little black bags that simply get discarded. So are you guilty of that? In the past we have thrown these away and to be honest, that was a big mistake.
Dust, especially fine dust created by a fine blade, can get into places you never even imagined. That includes your eyes, your ears and yes your nostrils and mouth. Dust particles in the air can also be breathed in and that over time can be quite extensive.
For a lot of people that may only cut a few pieces of wood every now and then, so the impact would be minimal. However if you are working on bigger projects, then that type of dust in the air can actually impact on your respiration and breathing.
Below we have outlined a number of ideas and options to reduce the amount of dust that you are breathing in, when using any type of saw, including a mitre saw.
Saw Outside Whenever Possible
The simplest and cheapest way of reducing dust is to do the sawing outdoors. We do understand that it is not possible to do this given the weather that we get in the UK. We would recommend that where possible you should consider that as your first option.
You also get the added benefits of real light rather than the artificial light you may have in a shed, garage or workshop. It also means there is less dust to clean up as a lot of will simply blow away in the wind.
Most mitre saws do come with a dust bag. If you have used a mitre saw and used one of these, then you will know that they don't capture all the dust. That said, they do capture most of it, and that is better than nothing.
The only reason we don't use them is really down to just wanting to get on with the work, and these can be fiddly to fit properly. In reality, fitting one takes about 15-30 seconds and helps protect your lungs.
If you are doing a couple of quick cuts, then it only takes a few seconds to pop this on, and a few seconds to empty. It keeps the work area clean and keeps the air free from dust. We have noticed that many of the brands who make these, are starting to increase the capacity of these bags
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Many users will turn to dust masks especially when cutting boards like MDF. The main problem with these is remembering to put them on, and also they can be pretty uncomfortable if worn for a long time.
Nonetheless, they help a lot and are effective. They are also pretty cheap to buy and at the end of the day they will protect your lungs.
For those of us who are working inside, or in a garage or workshop, and cutting a lot of wood, then sawdust can become a serious enough health risk. This is a risk that can be simply dealt with by either making use of the dust bag, wearing a dust mask or even better using both.
Attaching the Dust Port to a Vacuum Cleaner
Many users attach the dust port on the mitre saw to a vacuum cleaner when sawing. This is a pretty effective way of dealing with dust particles and keeping the working area clean and tidy. This is fine if you have an old vacuum in your work area. If you need to use the one in the house, that can become a pain.
You can of course use a vacuum designed for a garage or workshop known as a shop vac, so it will always be on hand to hook up to the dust port.
Dust Collection System - The Ultimate Solution
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The best option though is to make or buy a simple dust extraction system. It doesn't take long and when it is done, then it is done forever and keeps you healthy.
The vast majority of users will never need this at all, so feel free to skip this part if it doesn't apply. If you plan on doing a lot of sawing, planing or drilling in any type of confined space, then please give serious consideration to setting up a simple dust extraction system.
Take a bit of time and do this as it can be one of those jobs that you put off for a very long time. When you do get it done, it will make a huge difference to the overall speed and cleanliness of your work and working area.
If you use the bag that is usually provided, then this will remove about 70-75% of the dust that is created. It is almost impossible to remove it all. As we mentioned earlier, you do have the inconvenience of both attaching the bag, than you have to remove it, empty it and attach it again.
If you find that you do a lot of work in your workshop or garage, then it doesn't take long to have a much improved system. The good news is that it doesn't have to cost a lot either