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How do you handle sawdust when using templates for routing?

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  • How do you handle sawdust when using templates for routing?

    I have a small shop so the amount of tools I can have is limited but I'm curious as to how you guys are sucking up dust from a router when using templates on a router table?

    The only thing I could come up with would be some sort of overhanging vacuum arm.

  • #2
    I use a Rockler table which has a split fence with a vacuum adapter which vacs the dust from above the table and in between the split. IIRC, it came with the table top combo I purchased at the time for less than $200. I built my own legs, so only paid for the table top and fence combo. Prices have gone up since my purchase, but they still seem reasonable.

    There are also dust pickup (vacuum) attachments for many routers that attach to the side of the router base housing or replace your router base plate. I have found those annoying though, as the hose drags on the maneuverability of your router when free handing. They'd probably work okay on the table, but the above Rockler fixtures work okay in my small shop... but nothing I've used totally eliminates the need to vacuum afterwards.

    Think it Through Before You Do!


    • LCHIEN
      LCHIEN commented
      Editing a comment
      That's not bad, but won't really work for a template routing setup the OP wants to use where there is no fence at all and just a bit with a bearing guide on it sticking up through the table top.

  • #3
    Sadly, most consumer grade woodworking tools have pitifully inadequate dust collection ports. If your router has a vacuum hose connection, it is probably very small. You could jury rig the 2 1/4" vac hose from your shop vacuum to the base of the router with duct tape for a 100% improvement. Good dust and chip collection for a router requires overwhelming force!


    • #4
      Table mounted Routers are hard to pick up dust from because they are used in so many configurations that result in dust shooting out in different directions.

      Setup with bits buried in fences are easy with a behind the fence dust port. Like CWSmith describes.
      Grooving results in dust being thrown out the advancing end of the groove and below
      Bearing guided routing of edges and templates throws dust out one side... If the edge is straight and not real curved, using the fence nearby and the port on it can suck up a lot of the dust to the side. And below.
      All operations can throw dust below the table, but some are limited by having close fitting plates that cover the opening.
      For those that get a lot of dust falling below the table there are boxes that fit around the entire router and vacuumed and there are fittings that connect a vacuum hose to the frame of the router to the side of the collet to suck up the dust.
      I have to admit most of these are too complex and I just do some cleaning up after the fact.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ -


      • #5

        You are right of course, I've mostly only used small templates, like for rounding corners, etc. where I fix the fence in close proximity, but otherwise out of the way of the movement required. But even then, the vac works best for cleaning off the table afterwards as it never snatches away everythingd during the process. I've just gotten used to vacuuming afterwards.

        Think it Through Before You Do!