Soup Up Your Shop Vacuum - Popular Woodworking Magazine

Soup Up Your Shop Vacuum

 In Projects, Questions And Answers, Techniques

Had enough dust? Hook up to any portable power tool with this set of accessories.

by George Vondriska

Most shop vacuums are big and powerful, like SUVs. These vacuums have tons of suction power for cleaning the mess on your floor, but their standard hoses and fittings are way too big to use with portable power tools. There’s no way you’re going to attach a stiff, heavy, 2-1/4-in. hose to a random-orbit sander! You need accessories that are small, lightweight and nimble, like a sports car. With this set of options, you can hook up nearly any workshop vacuum to any portable power tool. What a difference!  No more choking sawdust—it’s definitely the way to go.

Versatile Hose


Super-flexible, long, lightweight and small in dia-meter—that’s what you’re looking for in a hose. This 1-1/4-in. hose from Shop Vac weighs less than 2 lbs., runs 18 ft. long and bends easily. The end that fits into your vacuum’s tub is a standard 2-1/4-in. straight sleeve.

Tool-Actuated Switch


This convenient gadget will really turn you on. Actually, it’s your vacuum that automatically turns on whenever you fire up a power tool. Plug the Craftsman Automatic Power Switch into an outlet; then plug the tool and vacuum into the switch. It works just like the tool-actuated switch on a high-end vacuum. The vacuum starts up with the tool and runs an additional 2 to 3 seconds to clear the hose after you’ve turned off the tool. The switch is rated to handle a total of 15 amps for the vacuum plus a tool.




Finer Filter


The smallest dust particles are the largest health hazard. To best capture sanding dust, switch from a standard filter to a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This CleanStream HEPA-grade fabric filter doesn’t clog as easily as a paper HEPA filter and can be cleaned with water. These filters are machine-specific, so you’ll need to buy one that fits your vacuum’s make and model.




Hose Adapters


Chances are every power tool in your shop has a different size of dust port, right? It’s time to buy a set of hose adapters. These two from Fein should be good for most situations.


– Cut the step adapter to custom-fit the inside or outside diameter of a dust port. The large end fits on the hose; the small end has a 7/8-in. inside diameter and 1-1/16-in. outside diameter at the taper’s end.


– The flexible rubber sleeve connects to a dust port that has approximately the same outside diameter as the end of the hose—about 1-1/4 in.




Hose Clips


These handy clips from Fein bind together your tool’s power cord and a 1-1/4-in. vacuum hose. Five clips are usually enough for an 18-ft. hose.



This story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 2005, issue #117.

Source information may have changed since the original publication date.


Shop Vac, (570) 326-3557,  1-1/4-in. x 18-ft. hose, #903-24-00, $51. CleanStream, (800) 758-6755, CleanStream Filters, about $30, but price depends on your vacuum’s size. Fein, (800) 441-9878, Step Adapter, #921072K13, $3.70. Rubber sleeve, #921069A13, $1.50. Fein, (800) 441-9878,  Hose/cord clips, #921063K13, $1 ea.


October 2005, issue #117

Purchase this back issue.

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