3 Ways to Improve the Dust Bag on Your Miter Saw

A miter saw is useful for woodworking but throws sawdust everywhere by nature of its design. Manufacturers include replaceable or washable dust bags. Unfortunately, these bags might not meet your needs. You could experience leaks or poor filtration. Effective sawdust removal allows for cleaner cuts and protects the health of the operator. Luckily, there are several ways to improve dust control with your miter saw. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to clean or change your bags regularly if you choose to use them. You can make your own vacuum bags out of a finer filter medium. Most miter saws can be fitted with an adapter that can hook up a shop vac for extra suction. If none of those options works, use an external ventilation device such as a vacuum hood or downdraft table. Regardless of which dust collection method you use, you should still always wear safety glasses and a dust mask when cutting.

Filter Bags

Replaceable filter bags should be changed when they are approximately half full. Clean the dust collection port of your saw by wiping it down and blowing compressed air through it. Some filter bags have to be washed. Some come with zippers and can be emptied by turning them over in the dustbin and tapping them lightly. If the manufacturer’s dust bags are no longer available, check a hardware store for a generic bag that could easily be modified to fit your saw. You can cut apart another vacuum bag with scissors and fit it to the nozzle with a thick rubber band. Mechanical or electrostatic filter paper will also work. You could even sew a dust bag out of canvas.

Shop Vac Attachment

With most miter saws you should be able to obtain a shop vac adapter that plugs into the dust collection port. Connect hose and run the vac while cutting with the saw. The vacuum will suck up more dust before it can be scattered. However, even when using the shop vac adapter some sawdust will still escape. The best dust collection strategy for a miter saw involves suction from under and behind the blade. Using a more powerful vacuum will also affect better results. Compare vacuum cleaners by their ratings for cubic feet per minute of air flow. In this configuration, the shop vac bag is equivalent to the miter saw’s own dust bag, so you still have to change it on a regular basis.

Exhaust Hoods and Downdraft Tables

If saw dust control is still unacceptable, use an external ventilator. Vacuum hoods and exhaust hoods can be purchased or built out of sheet metal and blower motors. Even an old television cabinet can be hollowed out and fitted to a vacuum cleaner. Downdraft tables, on the other hand, resemble metal grates. These tables pull the sawdust down and away as you cut. Although these options are the most effective, they are the most complicated and expensive as well.