Why Is My Old Table Saw so Dusty?

I have my grandfather’s table saw. It is, as far as I know, complete and original. The manufacturer’s plate on the drive belt side says “Rockwell Power Tool division.” The plaque on the opposite side of the housing is marked Delta Milwaukee, Rockwell Manufacturing Company. The saw works fine, and I use it weekly and have done so for many years. I am 67 years old. My question is: why is this saw so messy? I keep the exhaust port clear and the blade sharp, but after any cutting, rip or crosscut the floor around the saw and the base is covered in dust. As far as I can tell, all the guards and plates are in place. There is a semicircle plate across the blade opening, right side as you would use the saw. Any light you may shine on my problem would be appreciated. The saw serial number is 85-8429. Thanks for your time and consideration. — P.L. Cannan

Tim Inman: The times they are a-changin’…. Back when your saw was made, any effort to control dust in a carpenter shop would have been scoffed at. Dust was just part of a cabinetmaker’s life. Today, we have fancy setups in our shops to collect dust and deal with the waste. There is a raging battle about being able to sell/use saws that don’t have micro-brakes to keep us from cutting off fingers — even if we’re just dumb enough to stick a finger into the blade. I wear hearing protection regularly. My father ridiculed the idea just a few years ago. So — retrofitting an old (but good) saw to comply with today’s workplace standards and practices is what you’re up against. Or, just learn to live with it and get a broom …

Chris Marshall: I’d add to Tim’s suggestion: wear a dust respirator, too, if the dust bothers you. Even if you don’t see it, that super-fine dust is hanging in the air and waiting to get inhaled. More and more evidence is suggesting we should wear respirators around wood dust, regardless of the woodworking activity. I finally got in the habit of wearing a respirator when sanding a number of years ago, and now it just feels wrong not to wear it. Sure beats the alternative of coughing and sneezing.

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