Downdraft Tables Versus Vacuum-Equipped Sanders

Some woodworkers swear by downdraft tables, others swear by sanders coupled to vacuum dust collectors. May 22, 2006

Iím wondering how many of you guys use downdraft tables for your sanding? Has anyone built one to connect to a dust collector?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
I use the Festool ETS sander and dust collector and have no need for the table - absolutely no dust.

From contributor B:
My buddy's got a shop-built one. He says you need a lot of air to make it work. He's got two big (6" or 8") hoses going to his. I use the Festool vacuum (CT33) with a DeWalt sander. There is very little dust. Delta makes a mini (20" x 40") downdraft table that connects to dust collector.

From contributor C:
A few months back I was thinking of getting a downdraft table myself. I saw a few nice commercial ones that I thought I might buy. Then I saw the Festool stuff. I bought a CT 22 sander and two of their sanders (RO125 and the small pad sander) and I couldn't be happier with the results. There is no dust when you sand, and you're not restricted to sanding small pieces like doors and such.

From contributor D:
I'll add one more vote to the consensus around the Festool sanding and dust extraction system. I have an RO150 sander, which I've connected through a simple adapter to a 10 gallon Shopvac with a HEPA aftermarket filter. I already had the high performance vacuum, or I would have purchased the Festool dust extractor. I'm also seeing no airborne sanding dust, and virtually no dust left on the work being sanded either. I have an ambient air cleaner ceiling mounted directly above the sanding bench, and used to have to clean and change the filters frequently. Since purchasing the RO150 and using it as the primary portable sander, I keep checking and have yet to find that the fine filters in the ambient cleaner need attention. Needless to say, I was amazed. The Festool is a heck of a machine.

From contributor E:
I've used the Porter Cable sanders with a PC vacuum that comes on when you turn on the sander for the past several years with outstanding results. There is little to no dust for around $500 for two sanders and vac. However, I hate the hoses so I am switching to a downdraft table soon. I saw one a couple of days ago at a huge door shop. It was homemade and very efficient - it just hooked up to a 2hp two-bagger.

From contributor F:
I'd like to know how many Festool owners have actually used a downdraft table. I have no doubt Festool makes good tools, but once you use a downdraft table you will not go back. You can also hand sand, rout and many other dust creating jobs on a downdraft.

From contributor G:
I built a downdraft table with a 1 hp dust collector and use the lone ranger remote control to turn it on and off. It definitely helps keep the dust down, and you can watch the dust going through the holes. We also made a fan box on the ceiling with furnace filters this helps tremendously. It does not completely eliminate the dust but it cuts it down a lot. It sounds like everyone is happy with the Festool.