Building and maintaining wooden boats is dusty work, especially when power tools are involved. They can speed the work but they create a lot of dust, and none of it should be breathed in, whether it is from wood, glue, or paint. My thickness planer, jointer, tablesaw, and downdraft table have been connected to a dust collector with a 1-hp motor by 4″ hoses, but I’ve only recently added a system that works equally for the smaller tools. I had been relying on a shop-vac and the cloth dust bags that come with the sanders, but the shop-vac and its clunky 7′ hose aren’t convenient to use, and the bags on the sanding tools aren’t very effective.
I recently bought a Cen-Tec Quick Click hose and adapter set that solves both problems and now draws dust from my bandsaw, 6 x 48 belt sander, drill press, drum sander, 12′ disc sander, and random-orbit sander.
The hose that comes with the set I bought is 16′ long; lengths of 10′, 20′, and 30′ are also available. It has a diameter of 1-1/4″ and is made of supple lightweight plastic that is molded in a way that keeps the interior surface smooth to prevent clogging and to provide a largely unimpeded air flow. When I press the hose flat it springs right back with no indication of damage. The hose has a 2-1/4″ fitting on the vacuum end; a perfect snug fit for my Ridgid shop-vac.
The other end has Cen-Tec’s Quick-Click quick-release fitting, which accepts a number of adapters to fit different tools. The set I bought has five of them, and on each, a flexible blue ring has a pair of buttons that lock into holes in the hose-end socket. The adapters have split blue sleeves that can open or close a vent in the side, making it possible to adjust how much suction can be applied. I keep the vent closed.
The adapters have rubbery TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) collars in four sizes: 3/4″ , 1″ , 1-1/4″ , 1-1/2″ . Two of the five adapters that came with the set have a 1-1/2” inside diameter and for one of them, a hard plastic adapter from 1-1/2″ to 2-1/4″ will fit devices that accept the male end of a shop-vac hose; I use that fitting for my Delta 12″ disc sander and a drum sander and drill press I equipped with wooden fittings. While I could continue to use the shop-vac hose on those tools, I much prefer the convenience and easy handling of the Cen-Tec hose and the quick attachment of the adapters.
Other adapters fit my Ridgid random-orbit sander and Delta 14″ bandsaw. I can leave them in place and just move the hose to the tool I’m using. And the long, flexible hose, without an adapter, makes it easy to clean up errant dust all around the shop—without having to tow the shop-vac behind me.
In the first week I had the Cen-Tec system, I did a lot of work with the random-orbit sander. The Ridgid sander has a dust-collection bag that unscrews, and the fitting will take both the 2-1/4″ or 1-1/2″ Cen-Tec adapters. I used the flexible 1-1/2″ adapter and was impressed with how effective the system was and how little the hose interfered with the operation of the sander. But after several hours, the TPE end split and could no longer stay connected to the tool. I was quite disappointed because I had thought I’d found the best system for the sanding tool I use most often. I noticed that the fitting that had split was a light gray, rather than the dark gray of the other adapters. I thought that might be an indication of a bad batch of TPE. I returned the set to Amazon and reordered. In the replacement set all of the fittings were dark gray and they’ve all held up well.
On many occasions in the past, I had done work without setting up the various dust-collection systems I’d had for each tool, simply because they were inconvenient. The Cen-Tec system has changed that, and my shop is now a safer, cleaner, and more efficient place to work.
Christopher Cunningham is the editor of Small Boats Magazine.
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