Cheap, DIY Shop Walls to Protect from Disk Sander Dust


Basement, Blog, Home / Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

I have a problem with dust. Not the type of dust that shows up on your shelves one day nor the type you write in. In my case, the dust is created by my disk sander in my shop and it coats everything uncovered in the basement. That's why I put together these cheap, DIY shop walls to protect things from dust in my shop.

For most of the basement, I'm not yet able to address the issue yet. But for the shelving immediately next to my ShopSmith, I've come up with an elegant solution to keep those items clean. And really, the items on those shelves are going to get the most heavily coated in sawdust because they're only a couple feet from where I work.

What was my elegant solution? A drop cloth.

Why does the drop cloth work so well? Because it's durable, I can move it out of the way when not needed, and it's relatively cheap. Here's how I did it.

Originally, I had used a plastic drop cloth to achieve what I wanted to but it didn't work quite right. Just because I had the plastic on hand, didn't mean it was the best, most cost-effective solution. The problem was that the plastic was just too stiff. Every time I tried to move it, there was more effort and frustration involved than I bargained for. I figured I would try it again, but with a cloth drop cloth.

I bought a drop cloth long enough to cover the shelves. I also bought a grommet kit. And the rest of the items I needed I had on hand already, rope, scrap wood, staples, and some nails.

On the drop cloth, I marked where the vertical posts would be. On these lines, I added four grommets from the top to the bottom. The grommets were needed to thread the string through and I could have probably gotten away with just cutting some holes in the drop cloth, but I wanted this to be a bit more durable.

To attach the drop cloth to the shelves, I took some scrap pieces of wood and folded the top of the drop cloth over it in places that line up with each of the vertical posts. I stapled on both sides of the wood, just to be sure the drop cloth wasn't going anywhere. I then screwed each of these blocks to the vertical posts.

To allow me to draw the curtain up and down, I threaded a string through the vertical rows of grommets, starting at the bottom, weaving to the top, and then weaving my way back down. I tied both ends together at the bottom, to ensure I didn't pull the string all the way through.

Up near where the wood blocks were fastened, I hammered in two nails on each post and bent the nails away from each other slightly. These will be used to secure the curtain in the up position by wrapping the string around them a dozen or so times.

And that was it. That's everything I need to protect the shelves right by my disk sander from getting covered in dust. When I decide to set up the sander, I just need to lower the curtain. All other times, I can leave it up for easy access to the items on the shelf, which includes some of my tools. 

Sometimes it's simple upgrades like this that need to be done to make your life a whole lot smoother. In the future, I hope to add another drop cloth curtain to help protect the rest of the things in the basement from all the dust. 

What cheap improvements have you done to the spaces where you work and live? Leave a comment below.

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