A few weeks ago I previewed the Dust Right Lathe Dust Collection System. Rockler was kind enough to send out a test sample, which I quickly put to use.
You should also check out my previous review of Rockler’s Dust Right shop vacuum hose handle.
This dust collector is designed to catch shavings and sanding dust when you are turning long or narrow objects on a woodworking lathe, such as pens and spindles.
The kit comes with a C-shaped scoop that connects to any 2-1/2″ vacuum hose, and a mounting system for fixing the attachment to your lathe bed. The mounting system allows you to easily adjust the scoop around the object being turned to catch the maximum amount of waste.
At first I was a little skeptical that I needed the extra hose section and hose clamp in the kit, but after trying to connect my vacuum directly to the scoop, the weight of the hose quickly twisted the scoop around the mounting axis and right into the workpiece. You definitely don’t want something like that to happen with the workpiece spinning.
I can now appreciate why Rockler includes the hose extension in this kit. From what I’ve seen, it is not an optional accessory.
I connected the scoop to my vacuum the correct way, through the length of flexible hose securely clamped to the boom arm. This takes all the weight off the scoop to help it stay put.
Turning a Replacement Leg
My father-in-law asked me if I would turn a replacement leg for a chair he was fixing. Someone once tried to repair the broken leg tenon with a steel plate, but the repair looked ugly and just didn’t hold. I figured this would be a perfect project to test the Dust Collection System on my mini-lathe.
Unfortunately, after I finished turning the leg, I discovered I had a water spot on my camera lens and all the pictures I had taken during the process were blurry beyond repair. So I apologize that the pictures of turning the leg are all restaged. You’ll have to imagine what the in-progress shots would have looked like.
The way the mount for the C-scoop is designed, it can be wrapped around the workpiece at different angles. This was really handy as I could set it to one position when I was trying to catch the shavings, and another position to better to catch the fine dust while I was sanding.
Of course the C-scoop didn’t catch all of the shavings when I was turning the leg, To do that you’d pretty much have to completely encapsulate the turning, but it did a pretty good job. Normally turning something this size I’d have more shavings on me and on the lathe.
You could probably capture more shavings by adjusting the C-scoop more often so that the center is closest to to where you are cutting, or by changing how you cut so that you are directing shavings into the C-scoop. It all depends on how much more time you want to take turning the project vs. how much time you will need for cleaning up afterwards.
Even minimally adjusting the Rockler Dust Right scoop greatly reduced how much cleanup I would have to do.
Even with all of its adjustablility, while the C-Scoop didn’t get in my way when I was turning the leg, , it did make it slightly more difficult to wrap a piece of sandpaper around the leg when I was smoothing it. This is something that I can forgive, because as far as I could tell, it captured all the dust from sanding and kept it from going into my lungs.
Note: Always wear a dust mask or respirator (if you’re physically fit to do so), when creating fine dust or shavings!
After turning the leg, all that was left was to drill the the two mortises and cut the tenons to the proper length. The next time I was at my in-laws, we test fit the tenon that was broken and found it was too big, because I didn’t have a reference when I was turning it. Then we maneuvered all the chair joints just enough that we could get the leg into place and it fit perfectly,
While the C-Scoop worked pretty well, I found a few minor details about the mount I didn’t like.
First the mounting block was too big to slide out of the end of my lathe. This isn’t a huge deal and it’s possible this extra surface helps to make it compatible with a great number of lathes, but it would be nice if I could slide it off the end of my Excelsior lathe instead of having to reach underneath the bed each time I have to mount it.
Second, the post of the C-scoop arm mount tends to spin, since there’s just a single screw in the center. It’s really hard to tighten the screw enough to stop the post from spinning. I think I’m going to drill a hole in the boom arm and the rod for an indexing pin, something Rockler could easily add to a later version. Or maybe some Loctite thread locker will help.
The third point is a little nit-picky. The package doesn’t include a washer for the boom arm mount. Better yet, maybe they could have made the knob a little wider at the base. The knob is only slightly wider than the slot so there just isn’t much surface area holding the boom arm. I’m less concerned about holding power and more concerned about eventually damaging the knob to where it won’t hold correctly.
Those few details aside, I am very happy with the Dust Right Lathe Dust Collection system. It’s not going to work for every lathe project, but for projects small enough to fit into the C-scoop, it sure beats my homemade lathe dust collector.
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Thank you to Rockler for providing the review sample unconditionally!