Swapping hands with flex shaft

Hello Jeff & all,

Really this is about dust control.

I’ve been reading many contributions and suggestions about how to
keep dust out of our faces and bodies - whether the dust is toxic or
not, it is annoying. Hoods and exhaust fans of every description are
offered. I’ve tried some and invented some of my own and some of them
work OK and some are a pain in the butt; noisy or ineffective or in
the way of the work.

I’ve been kicking myself around the block for missing a good thing a
few years back when i renovated our old kitchen and i threw away the
body of the cooktop we’d built into the counter 20 years ago. This
was one of those Jenn-Air type stoves ( but a different brand whose
name I cannot recall) It came with a built-in exhaust fan that drew
fumes down into grates on either side of the stove. The thing about
most dusts we generate working jewelry materials is that they are
heavier-than-air particles which really do want to go down, not up.
The the velocity of airflow it takes to draw the particles up and
away from your face requires a powerful fan with the collection duct
or hood relatively close to the source of dust - therefore it is
noisy and you have to live with this looming Presence right over your
workbench. Why fight gravity?

The cooktop, once I took out the burners themselves, would have been
an ideal foundation for a bench top. Basically it was strong,
seamless stainless steel pan, a few inches deep with a raised rim
into which the working surface of your bench (material of your
choice) could be inserted to seat snugly in place of the burner
units. The vents which collect fumes ran along either side and had
easily accessed screens - originally meant to catch grease particles
but which could, either as-is or with simple modification, serve to
catch any precious bits of metal, tool, or stone which might be swept
into the vent by accident. Even without these screens, the lost item
would simply end up in the steel pan under the bench top, not blown
out the exhaust duct. Finally, the pan was formed and set up so any
liquid spills, such as might occur in a cooking accident, were
directed into a removable glass container underneath. Needless to
say everything about the unit was heatproof, hard to corrode, and
easy to dis-assemble for cleaning. The exhaust fan came with a
built-in rheostat switch for high or low speed venting. There were
sturdy flanges all around the perimeter of the unit so it can be let
into a solid table or countertop exactly as it is designed to do…
What more could one want? I would still want an overhead hood for
fumes carried from soldering operations, hot pickle pots or other
heat sources since those hot emanations want to rise naturally by
convection. Again, why fight gravity? But your overhead exhaust
doesn’t have to do the work of lifting particles of metal - so it
can be a relatively benign presence, easy to find, cheap to purchase

  • not a roaring monster sucking expensively heated air out of your
    cozy warm workshop in January. An ordinary over-the-stove vent unit
    will do.

For anyone contemplating their next version of the more-perfect
workbench, I’d give this idea a look. Especially if you are a
hobbyist or beginner without the big bucks to throw into equipment.
I’m dead certain that discarded down-draft venting cooktops and
overhead stove vents can be found easily and for next to nothing in
financial outlay… You could probably find an idiot like me throwing
one away without thinking. People are always renovating and the old
units have no resale value to speak of. Ask a local kitchen
renovator, electrician, or someone in related trades. You have to be
handy with the minimal wiring required and with basic carpentry
needed to adapt and install these --, or get some help. It’s not
rocket science.

N.B. None of the above will be good enough for any folks messing
about with really evil vapours, i.e. carcinogens, explosive
volatiles, corrosive acids, cyanide and other bio-hazards. I’m just
talking run- of-the-mill dust here.

Has anyone out there ever tried this? I can’t be the first to think
of this.

Anyway, I’m gonna try it next time I build yet another,
more-perfecter- than-ever homemade workbench - just as soon as i
finish these 3 boats I’m working on. it’s a lebedike welt, a
lebedike lebn.

That’s me 2 cents for tonight

Marty Hykin in Victoria - land of everlasting, um. ah, something 'r
other. Nice place anyway.

Thank you so much for that Marty, You brought up many valid points
that I hadn’t thought about. The plan at the moment is to use an A/C
duct with Bathroom vents in the drop ceiling and a powerful attic
fan on the far back wall to the outside. I know that most of my
bronchial irritation is due to 39 years of dirt falling back out of
the old drop ceiling and I wondered how many vapors have permeated
the walls and are trapped in the building. The dirt from the
flexshaft is more immediate (in my face) and you have one really
excellent point about never being able to draw that upward! Hmmm
Maybe my new air purifier should be facing out the door of my office
sitting on the floor below the flexshaft hand. Also very good point
about using a big fan to remove the expensive heat from the rooms! I
need to give this a bunch more thought before asking the boss to
shell out the bux! I just saw some infomercials for the Oreck air
purifier. $369.00 Anyone had any experience with these?


Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life to mind your own business
and to work with your hands so that your daily life may win the the
respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on