Like most woodworkers, I’ve gradually collected a number of power tools, all of which have proved to be useful, even if my old Lamello C2 biscuit jointer doesn’t get much of an airing these days. Whatever sort of tool I eventually buy, there’s always a slight nagging worry about connecting the dust extractor.
The situation is helped somewhat because years ago, I bought a Numatic Stepped Hose Reducer or to use its shortened form, a ‘Numred’ which conveniently fitted the 32mm hose on my old Axminster WV100 extractor.
The Numred has the benefit of being made from fairly soft, squishy rubber and, being stepped, it can be fitted quite easily into or over some power tool extractor ports, such as the small oval one on the C2.
But not all, and therein lies the issue.
Taking one brand as an example and like many other users, I’ve grown addicted to Festool products. Once you’ve had one, it doesn’t stop there so that it becomes all too easy to dream about accumulating a whole raft of their power tools. Thus far, I have a second hand, original Mk1 Domino jointer, palm sander, TS55 track saw, 14.4V power drill and OF1400 router.
Festool have also developed an excellent series of power tool extractors (and hoses etc) complete with all the ‘bells and whistles’ which are, naturally enough, designed to fit their equipment. Like all their gear, it comes at a price which, if you’re like me, you may be disinclined to pay, especially if you’ve got a decent extractor already. But a couple of my Festool power tools will fit Numred. The OF1400 dust connector and TS55 track saw extraction port are just the right size for a comfortable push fit, but the Domino and the RTS 400Q-Plus are obviously designed to fit one of the dedicated Festool hoses as their dust ports are far too small to even think about connecting the Numred.
Using oddments of plastic hose, I spent several frustrating hours trying to find a way to make the two fit together and then I inadvertently stumbled on a solution. For many years, I’ve been an enthusiastic fish keeper and have oddments of old reinforced pond hose in the garden shed, one of which happened to be a short lump of 1½” stuff which is a perfect fit for the Numred and even better, the inside of the hose is dead smooth ensuring a good push fit.
The fish pond hose was still far too large for the extractor ports so I then had to find some way of packing out the gap between the two. One of the most useful things in any workshop is Duct or Gaffa Tape which is normally used in dust extraction systems, but in this instance I just used narrow strips wound around the power tool extraction outlet until the pond hose was a reasonably tight fit. To secure everything in place, I used a Jubilee Clip to crimp the whole thing tight. It may not be pretty, but it works!
For hand sanding, I use a Mirka sanding block with Abranet® sheets. I happened to have an old piece of corrugated hose of approximately the right size so I used a piece of clear plastic tubing at the sander end which fitted over both nozzles. The other end of the tube was fortunately a tight fit into the Numred.
This type of problem is bound to crop up from time to time regardless of the type of power tool or manufacturer and Festool have been quoted here purely as an example. With a little ingenuity and a dash of ‘blue sky thinking’, additionally fuelled by copious quantities of strong tea and biscuits, it’s quite possible to find a solution and at the same time, save yourself a vast amount of the hard earned ‘folding’.
I still haven’t worked out a solution to the crinkly extraction hose catching on stuff though.
More tea and biscuits needed….