(Unless otherwise noted, I have not received any compensation or consideration for any of the reviews listed. These have been purchased with my own funds at regular or sale prices publicly available.)
I first reviewed this on Router Forums in May of 2010. I’ll republish portions of my original post and update it with what I’ve experienced over almost two years of owning it.
Republished in part from routerforums.com:
Now, let me tell you about my current setup and why it’s relevant to the review. I do all my router table activities in my shed – henceforth known as the shop. It’s a 12’x12′ enclosed building in my backyard, and it also houses other assorted stuff like old baby clothes, the lawnmower, garden tools…the usual stuff. So, keeping dust at bay is a pretty big priority. So much so that any sawing I have to do, of whatever sort, gets done outside.
To gather the dust and bits from my router table, I’m using a Rockler fence and D/C port, hooked up to a 6g/3HP Shop-Vac. Nothing too fancy about that.
I had been doing a pretty decent amount of projects lately, and it has been working well. But the discussion about D/C recently brought my attention to various store and DIY solutions to help extend the life of the vacuum. One of these was the Rockler unit, which can be found here. Since this is on my way home (sort of), I decided to go pick it up. I bought it with one of the shop vac adapters as well. A 5g Homer bucket was purchased from the BORG, although I had a 5g bucket from Pep Boys that would have worked as well. NOTE= 5g buckets are not equal.
I emptied out the vacuum before I started, and noticed a copious amount of dust covering the filter and in the canister. It was good that I was doing this now, or I may have ended up burning the motor at some point. I had an entire duplicate Shop-Vac still in the box from a sale, so I borrowed the hose from it to complete assembly. The Rockler unit just sits on top of the bucket, and you can use the bucket handle to lock down the top. The whole thing isn’t a huge space waster, I have it under my clamp table at the moment. If I had considered it beforehand, I could have incorporated it’s inclusion in my router table. Perhaps next time.
Now, I’m not a everyday woodworker. I also didn’t do a ton of testing to reach this conclusion, but I think it’s representative of what I do, so I included it. I’ll do a small project, if I’m lucky, once a week. This week’s project was to experiment with making biscuits and to make the face for my new bench clamp (small chamfer, 3/4″ indent for the mechanism).
I experienced no discernible loss in suction from the hose. The vacuum was on during routing, and after when I cleaned up any dust and bits on the table and in the tracks. Sucked everything up fine. When I went to check on the results, I saw absolutely nothing in the vacuum. Nada. Now, it’s entirely possible (and probable) that dust is still finding it’s way into the vacuum and filter, but it’s severely reduced compared to what was still in the bucket. I have to recommend this, so far, as an absolute buy. I’d recommend this to anyone in a similar position, and I’m interested in doing a bit heavier workload to see if the results still hold, but I see no reason to why it shouldn’t.
Initial conclusion: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Final conclusion: TBD
Up until a few months ago, I was using the Shop Vac 3HP model with 1.25″ diameter hoses. I have since upgraded to a Ridgid 6HP model with 2.25″ hoses. I had to upgrade in order to clear the chips from my planer. It works, but not quite as well as a true DC would. However, for small shops it works just fine. When hooked up to my table saw a while back, I could see a vortex inside the bucket after I recently emptied it. The performance of this unit has convinced me to hold off building another lid for it. I would be interested in seeing the results with a larger separator, and I may order one if the diameter will fit my shorty 20-gallon trash can. I give this five stars, as it has been a stalwart in my cleanliness initiative, and I haven’t had any regrets about purchasing it. The bucket’s handle helps hold down the lid securely – I do recommend the ‘Homer’ bucket from HD, it’s what I use.
Rockler has stopped selling this, but luckily Amazon still does. You can find a link below (with my referral). If you are thinking of trying it out, please consider going through the link below in order to help fund the shop. It does not add to your purchase price.