Vacuuming Lacquer Sanding Dust

Is it safe? November 26, 2007

I've recently switched from water-base topcoats to solvent-base pre-cat lacquer. I spray SW Sherwood. Is it safe to use my Porter Cable shop vac to vacuum off the scuff sanding dust between coats? I've been doing it for a couple of months without thinking there could be any problem, but now I'm wondering... What are other methods of getting rid of this dust?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor J:
You shouldn't have any problems. I would clean the vac out daily and not let the dust accumulate. Don't run it right after you spray something, or if there is a lot of vapor in the air.

From contributor B:
While there are some who do just that and have had no problems (so I'm told), I feel it is risky because of the tool creating a static discharge around flammable/combustible lacquer dust.

From contributor M:
I have always blown dust off with an air hose. After that I wipe down with a cotton cloth (old t-shirt). You would be surprised at the amount of fine dust this takes off. This works really well on recessed panel doors. Blow off again before you spray. I have a friend who uses a tack cloth in the same way. I'm not that fussy.

From contributor R:
Most of the dust that goes into a vacuum is flammable. Certain conditions have to be met for a dust explosion to happen. None of those conditions would be met while using a shop vac.

From contributor D:
On this particular topic of vacuuming sanding dust, Oneida air systems has a cool new mini tornado that works in conjunction with a shop vac built, for this specific purpose, that I find invaluable. It eats the dust so that your vacuum filter doesn't clog. Best $150 I ever spent.