Shop-Built Down-Draft Table Ideas

Woodworkers discuss ways to build your own down-draft sanding table. December 14, 2005

A downdraft table can't be that hard to make, and there must be a good plan available somewhere. I know the argument about making something else, selling it, and then buying the down draft table, but if you buy with after tax dollars, at a price tag of $1495 plus freight and up, plus 25% in taxes, it seems it might be worth the effort to build it. I suspect there is something I don't know about the design of the tables. If anyone knows of a good plan or design to build one, or has some opinions on why it may be foolish to build one, please inform me.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
I have also thought of making one. One thought I did have while sanding a while back was, instead of a down-draft, why not an up-draft, somewhat of a hood design?

From contributor B:
I bought a salvaged squirrel cage fan from a Coleman furnace (mobile home type) from a local HVAC company. It is a three speed and moves a lot of air. I built a frameless base cab on casters, mounted the fan blowing out the front, and closed off the rest of the front. I screwed cleats, 1" square to set the filter on, and sized cab to fit filters. I used 20 x 25. The lowest was a small micron job with a cheaper one on top then a grid of 1/4 hardboard above that. It took two hours or less to build. I run mine all the time as a cooling fan and ambient air cleaner.

From contributor C:
I have used a number of shop-made sanding tables, but I've never actually built one. I seem to recall they were just tied into the shop dust collection system with an upside down hood. Instead of holes in the table, one place had a latticework top with the tops of the upper rails padded with carpet to prevent scratching. Your idea, although imaginative, may not work. You'd have to have a fan underneath, blowing up, to overcome the natural effect of gravity. Then, your hood would have to pull a ferocious vacuum or the dust would be all over the shop.

From the original questioner:
Rockler offers a kit for this. I strongly prefer to build mine with a Leeson or Baldor motor. I suspect they use an impeller, like on a dust collection system. I have also seen the squirrel cage used.

From contributor E:
Im a woodshop teacher in a high school and I had students build one in our shop and it works great. The link below takes you to the plans that we used and modified to meet our needs. It sounds a lot like what contributor B described. Just get in touch with a local HVAC shop and you can probably get a used blower pretty cheap. Related Web Site: Downdraft Sanding Table

From contributor F:
I do not understand your statement about buying with after tax dollars - plus the 25% taxes. I buy tools with before tax dollars, write them off and save on average 1/3 of the intial cost on income taxes. That makes my $1495 plus $110 shipping, table cost about $1100 after taxes.

From the original questioner:
To contributor F: Perhaps I am wrong or perhaps part wrong. You save by writing it off but you are still paying for the item with after tax dollars. The $1605 didn't make it in your pocket free and clear.

From contributor G:
I built one similar to the one contributor E mentioned, using a free blower from HVAC friend. The only modification I eventually made was to take out the filters and have the blower output going to a shuttered vent from Grainger. Now the stuff simply blows outside, with no cleaning of filters.