Ramblings from a South Central Texas Wood Butcher #2: That REALLY Sucks! (DC collapses 24" Duct)

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was a shop teacher for a number of my years in education. In 1985, I had the opportunity to open a brand spankin’ new wood shop in the newest high school of my district. I jumped at the chance, not knowing that I’d spend the first semester teaching “wood shop” in a drafting lab. Yeah, the shop wasn’t ready when we started the year.

Although there was more of a wait than I wanted, I had been allowed the opportunity to design, at least the layout, of the new shop and order EVERYTHING. Well, all the tools and woodworking equipment. The spray booth and dust collector was designed (chosen) by the designer. Oh well, I wouldn’t have known what to order, so that was okay.

Spray booth was pretty state of the art back then, other than the heat switch did nothing. To cut costs, the incoming air heater was not installed. That really “blew” in the winter, cold air, very cold air. We worked around it though.

What was really something was the dust collector. Of course, once everything was installed and I was handed keys, all of the construction folks were long gone. Nobody stuck around to explain anything to me. I had to figure everything out on my own, like NEVER turn on the dust collector without, a minimum of, one blast gate open.

Yeah, I found that one out the hard way. When my principal took me in to formally had the shop over to me, I was drawn to the dust collector switch and HAD to turn it on. It quickly spun up, without a deafening roar, as it was outside, so all we hear was a muffled whooooosh, and then the sickening sound of a large can crumpling.

My attention was quickly drawn to the 24" main duct, running along the ceiling, at the opposite side of the shop, only to notice a 10’ section collapsing in upon itself. In a panic I slapped the dust collector switch off, but it was too late. Even spinning down, the dust collector had so much draw that it continued to collapse the duct in, upon itself.

My principal looked at me in disbelief then muttered something, to the effect, “Holy Crap, you’ve just gotten this place and you’ve already screwed something up. This may have to come out of your check.”

The damage was reported, the construction company had the section of ducting replaced, it didn’t come out of my check, but the new section was never painted to match the other ducting that had, so every day I was reminded about that dust collector. First thing I did before ever firing the dust collector up again? I pulled one of the slides out of the blast gate on one of the floor sweep collector ducts.

Never had another duct collapse after that.

Happy Wooding!

-- Keith "Shin" Schindler

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Even a shop vac can crush most garbage cans. I learned that lesson too when building my mini collector. And it didn’t come out of my paycheck either because it was a plastic can I already owned. LOL

They pressure test new plumbing by going up an air compressor and filling the system to whatever psi and leaving it a couple of days to see if it leaks. Once my boss saw a ball valve in a strange location and he was like, what’s this for? PPSSSSSHHHHHTTTTT! Oops, that set us back a couple of weeks rescheduling the plumbing inspection. LOL

As humans, we just can’t help ourselves sometimes. I salvaged a very large red high voltage momentary switch from a pump controller. I have this idea that some day I’m going to hook it up to an air horn in a box in a public space with a sign that says, DO NOT PUSH THIS BIG RED BUTTON and let the video roll. I can only imagine what’s going to happen.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

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