Home Projects How to Build a DIY Downdraft Table

How to Build a DIY Downdraft Table

how to build a DIY downdraft sanding table

Today I’m going to show you how to build a DIY Downdraft Sanding Table to help eliminate dust in your shop!  This is actually and update to an earlier downdraft table and sanding box I made last year.  I wanted this one to be a little bigger and I refined the design a little too.

Now I know you love sanding your woodworking projects, right???  You strap on the respirator, grab your sander, your preferred sanding grits (80, 150, 220 for me), now stand there for an hour or more working through your grits while your hand goes numb and you look like Indiana Jones coming out of the sand storm.

Okay, so we all (at least the sane ones) hate sanding. BUT, I hate it a little less after making this awesome downdraft table / sanding box. It’s a super simple construction and I made mine from scrap cutoffs of 1/2″ MDF and plywood along with some 1/4″ pegboard and a dust fitting.  I made mine to accept a 4″ dust port, but this will work with any vacuum or shop vac, you’ll just have to gauge the suction and make sure you don’t go too big where it isn’t effective.  After you build this, your lungs will thank you!

 

Eliminate Dust with this DIY Downdraft Table Sanding Box

how to build a DIY downdraft sanding table

Before we get started, make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest to keep up with all my latest builds and free projects!

Here is what you’ll need for the project:

Materials Used

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Building the Downdraft Sanding Table

The build is very easy and I’ve used readily available items that were actually all leftover material from other projects in my shop.  The finished downdraft table will be 19″ x 25″, but you can size yours as you need it.

  1. Cut the Pegboard and Downdraft Table Sides
  2. Assemble the Sanding Box
  3. Mount Cleats and Downdraft Dust Chute
  4. Build the Downdraft Knockdown Sides

1.  Cut the Pegboard and Downdraft Table Sides

Begin by cutting the pegboard to size.  I cut mine to 18″ x 24″ for a nice sized sanding area, but it’s small enough to not need support across the middle.

Cutting sanding table top to size

Next rip your 1/2″ MDF into 6″ wide strips for the sides.  Crosscut the sides to make 2 long sides of 24″ and 2 short sides of 19″.

ripping downdraft sanding table sides on tablesaw

Next layout the position for your dust port on one of the short sides.  It should be centered on the board and about 1″ up from the bottom.

laying out dust port for sanding table

Use a drill to make a starter hole then cut out the circle with a jigsaw.

drilling starter holeusing jigsaw to cut out dust port hole

2. Assemble the Sanding Box

Now you can assemble the downdraft sanding table box.  Turn the side with the dust port upside down and use the pegboard top to square up the assembly.  I joined the piece with a quick setting glue and a brad nailer with 1″ brads.

assembling sanding boxassembling sanding box

3. Mount Cleats and Downdraft Dust Chute

The top is supported by a series of cleats around the top edge.  Cut an 18″ long 1-1/2″ cleat from 3/4″ material to go on the side opposite of the dust chute.  The other short side gets an 18″ long 1″ wide cleat and the long sides each get a 22-1/2″ cleat 1″ wide.

box cleats

Use a small offcut of the pegboard to position the cleats.  They should be positioned so the pegboard is flush with the top.

box cleatsbox cleats

Cut a section of 1/4″ plywood to 18″ wide and dry fit it in your downdraft table before trimming to length.

fitting dust chute

Cut the chute to size so it sits about 1/8″ down into the box.  Note the side away from the dust port should be firmly seated on the underside of the 1-1/2″ cleat and the other end will be close to the dust port.

installing dust chute

To secure the dust chute cut 14″ cleats from 3/4″ x 3/4″ strips and glue the faces that will touch the side and dust chute.  Nail the cleats to the side with 1″ brad nails.

nailing on the dust chute cleats

To finish off the box I drilled holes for the dust port and attached it with 5/8″ pan head screws.

attaching dust port

Caulk the inner seams for an air tight seal and to direct all airflow from the top.

caulking the seams of dust chute downdraft table

The downdraft sanding table is now complete, but I added some knockdown sides for extra efficiency.

4. Build the Knockdown Sides

 

The downdraft sanding table knockdown sides are made from 1/4″ plywood.  The sides are 12″ tall and the full sized back piece is 25″ and the two sides are 17″ long.

cutting knock down sides on tablesaw

On one of the short sides you need to make a cutout for the dust port.  Use a circle to trace and outline and then cut it out with a jigsaw.

diy-downdraft-sanding-table-24cutting out circle with ridgid jigsaw

The sides are joined together with duck tape for the hinges.  Put the panels a pencil width apart then tape the panels together with a strip of tape.

diy-downdraft-sanding-table-26diy-downdraft-sanding-table-27

Flip the panel over and apply another strip of duck tape to the other side, pressing the tape into the seam and sealing it against the tape you already applied.diy-downdraft-sanding-table-29

Fold the panels along the hinge then secure the outer edges of the tape to the panels.

diy-downdraft-sanding-table-30

Repeat this on the other joint and you have your knock down panels for your downdraft table.

diy-downdraft-sanding-table-31diy-downdraft-sanding-table-32diy-downdraft-sanding-table-33

Now sand to your little heart’s delight knowing your DIY Downdraft Table is a great little sanding box keeping your lungs clean.

If you want more great shop projects go check out my Shop Projects page.

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  • Mark

    Ok, I will ask. Why the tilted bottom, for vacuum air flow pressure, or for dust rolling downhill?

    • Brad

      Mark, yes and yes. The slant helps with both of those. But the main reason is for the suction. The slant helps speed up the airflow as it gets further from the hose and help keep consistent suction across the grid.

      Brad

      • Mark

        Thnx Brad.

  • Edd

    Has anyone howhow figured out how big of a box you can make for using a small vacuum like a Stinger wet/dry vac? Thanks for the article it’s a great idea.

    • Brad

      Edd, I have not heard about it. But I’d say it could handle this size. Try it out and let me know!

    • Tony

      Edd, you can modify this slightly and it will have more power…I believe. Rather than a long incline, have the vacuum port in the middle with a slant from each end. So, more of V. I’ve also heard of people using paste wax on the inside surfaces.

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  • Nice plan Brad. I have made one similar and I have used Melamine coated particle board for all the pieces and the amount of friction is reduced dramatically. I used 16″ white shelving from one of the big box lumber stores! Mine is of course a smaller model and you can get the Melamine sheets in 2′ X 4′ or even 4′ X 8′! Thanks again!!

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  • Alvin Dean

    Heck, I’d like to know where you still find The New Yankee Workshop on TV?!? LOL! No but seriously, great work up and plans! I will be building this!!!

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