Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Follow up comment on leaf vacuums in the shop

david weaver
(the TLDR version below summarizes that not all shavings and not all vac designs work as well as I'd mentioned previously. If you're way above me on the status ladder and would never use a hand held leaf vac to clean shavings and dust in your shop, no need to read the wanderings below).

So, as part of this test, I wasn't aware that these thin shavings in high humidity really are tough. I wrapped one around the impeller on my beloved black and decker BV4000 (NLA), stalled the motor and fried it almost instantly.

I assumed in mentioning earlier that these wide mouth vacs are a woodworker's best buddy because they can pull in and shred jack plane shavings.

So I bought a refurbished works vac since it will only be used in my shop to find out that it's far inferior.

The old cheap B/D vac had reinforced plastic for an impeller and not an especially efficient design, just a tough one. it can pick up stones in my driveway that have fallen over the retaining wall from the flower beds and there's no pinch point, it just blasts them into the bag.

The worx vac has some kind of two part impeller with a fixture above it to try to shred the leaves further. This is absolute murder with plane shavings, they just get tangled in everything in it. It was cheap enough that I'll probably just give it to someone ($35 shipped).

I found a low end black and decker offered now that gets poor reviews (BV3600 or something) and has the same cheap impeller design mine had, without metal impellers that may get abused or broken by something in the shop, and all should be well again. Sometimes quality improvements (the leaf reduction on the new vac is far higher spec than the old one) have adverse consequences.

Maple shavings have great tensile strength, and the high humidity (dewpoint has been in the mid 70s for weeks, and my shop is below grade and lower temp than outside, driving up the RH further) - even the tablets I keep to write on are getting soft - the tensile strength is a blower killer.

And seeing that the second "better" machine is far less suited to the task - if you tried my suggestion and found it worked like crap, there's more variability from one machine to the next than i suspected! Stick with the cheapies if you try one for the shop. The BV3600 type refurbished was only $32 (but I think I got the only listing at that) with shipping. When you're careless, it helps not to use too many expensive toys.

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Follow up comment on leaf vacuums in the shop
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