Dec 032018
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Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

Festool has solved the problem of vacuum hoses abrading the edges of your workpieces by encasing the hose in a protective sleeve. They call it the Sleeved Antistatic Hose.

However, suppose you have the older Festool hose, or the plastic hose that came with your other-branded shop vacuum. Maybe it’s complicated by working on a project that requires you to do a lot of start-and-stop sanding. How simple can we make
the solution?

I ran into those very problems when I was making the round cedar picnic table pictured below.

I think they like it!

Sanding cedar can be very tedious, as the wood is soft but the knots are hard. As I worked out little defects, I had to sand a bit, vacuum, examine, then sand more or move on to another defect. At that time, I didn’t have a dust separator on my Festool Dust Extractor, but I did have one in the ceiling, attached to a little Shop Vac Hangup.

By mounting this mini-vacuum and a dust separator in the ceiling, attached to a long, long hose, I can vacuum
almost anywhere I do benchtop work in my shop.

As it happened, though, I was working at the extreme end of the length of the hose when I had the tabletop balanced on its edge on the floor. Thus, every time I stopped vacuuming, the hose wanted to recoil out of reach.

A couple of clamps solved the problem. I got a big squeeze clamp that would accommodate the diameter of the hose without crushing it, and another clamp to hold that clamp to a nearby table. Voila! The last 18 inches of the hose were handy when I needed to remove dust, and out of the way while I was sanding.

A couple of inexpensive squeeze clamps and my hose was both protected and available.

Then, there was the matter of repeatedly starting and stopping. No problem. I have a low-amperage remote switch that allows me to activate the vac from the work site. Further, you can order them with specific channels, allowing you to control separate tools
with additional units.

Of course, Festool has that covered now, too. Any current model of dust extractor can be retrofitted with a Bluetooth remote control. You can even mount the remote switch on the hose, so it’s always handy! Click here to order or learn more.

You want even more? How about a dust separator that mounts right on your Festool extractor? Yep, they have that, too, click here. Then click here to watch a video, and prepare to be amazed at how flexible this little addition is.

Now, if I’d just had all that when I was working on the table. It might not have taken me 18 months to finish!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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