Tour the Tomb Room: Dust Collection

You can see this table without stuff on it in my first blog.

Time to finish the giraffes. I’ve been using files on this but now I need to use grinders, so I need dust collection. You can see the open end of the suction hose behind the workpiece.

Here’s the back. The hose is just jammed into a hole in the wood.
A picture of a dust collector covered with dust is ironic.
This is NOT Foredom’s official stand.

The Foredom company was early in developing this kind of flexible shaft tool. . Now you can get them from Dremel and other companies as well, but Foredom’s is a workhorse, and it can turn either way, which is critical. This kicks up a lot of dust. You can see it in all the pictures. But the collector picks up the smallest particles, which hang in the air long enough to get pulled in. The heavier stuff falls, but I can sweep that up. Theoretically. I mean, if I ever wanted to.

The Foredom grinder hangs on that stand, for use and for storage. It’s made of the base of an office chair, some PVC, a shovel handle, and curtain rod hooks from my house in New Brunswick. I kept all those pieces because they’d be useful later, and they were!

Here’s the bullnose burr I’m using on the giraffes; it’s evil!

The dust hose fits pre-made plastic ports that are sometimes provided with tools, and can be added if they aren’t:

Belt sanders come equipped with a port but I needed an adapter.

Belt sanders are notorious for not collecting their own dust well. The giraffes make chunky dust when I cut them with the grinder, so it’s not too annoying, and cherry smells good. Pine, on the other hand, also smells good, but deposits very small particles on the belt sander and everything else, even though I run the collector.

The dust collection bags can catch anything over 5 microns, which I gather is very small. That’s the stuff I don’t want floating in the air. The lower bag has a window, so I can tell when it’s full. I compost the dust.

Maybe by the time we’re all free of self-quarantine, I’ll have dusted the dust collector. You never know. It could happen.

I’m A Late Bloomer…

I’m accidentally creating a coherent body of work.

Say what?

I’m cleaning up the shop and finishing things I cut out years ago. I never finished the rabbit because I snapped off the left ear with a grinder, and I never found that piece. I put it aside. Last month I carved the iguana and prairie chicken out of the same tree, and last week I cut off the broken ear and glued on a bit from a different slab of the same tree. It’s not invisible, but I retained the shape that I had wanted.

‘So’, says Iguana, ‘It’s been nice hanging out with you but I’m going to live in an office in Teaneck.’

I’ve often been told that I need to create a ‘coherent body of work’. And now, I have! I’m working on a line of fish out of the same wood in a similar flattened style. Halesia is a repulsive wood to carve; it chips and pops out and cracks, and its dust is acrid and bitter. (Sanding inevitably leads to a certain amount of ingestion. Tupelo, by contrast, is not exactly yummy but tastes like Tupelo honey.) But Halesia has curly variegated grain that stands out in pieces like this.

The Iguana sold at the opening show at South Avenue Arts, so in fact, I still only have two ‘coherent’ pieces, plus a lizard-shaped box out of the same tree. I’m carving the last of the wood, so this series is near the end. And it’s taken me 45 years to get one coherent theme! Now I have to find another?