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Thread: Compressor?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Midlands of South Carolina


    OK, this is going to show just how ignorant I am, but I am going to ask anyway...

    Why do I need an air compressor in my woodworking shop? What all is it used for?

    I see air hoses used to blow off shavings and dust, but I could use a shop vac for that.

    My power tools are electric.

    I told the wife that I was going to put the compressor with the dust collector in a "noise room", and she asked why I needed a compressor...and I did not have a good answer.

    I just know I need one, so help me out here

    Oh - and what size?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Prosser View Post
    I just know I need one, so help me out here

    Oh - and what size?
    Spraying on finish, air grinder and sander are more powerful then electric and less expensive. just to name a few.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Prosser View Post
    Oh - and what size?
    As big as you can get.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Bloomington MN USA
    Well Rick..... One reason is just cuzz you want it. But a day will come when you may want to use some air nailers, both brad and pin nailers. Also you may want to spray some of your finishes on wood projects. Cleaning out the gears on the table saw every so often. If the LOL has a low tire you will be her hero.
    If you make a mistake it was part of the original plan!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Villa Park, CA
    It's surprising how much I use compressed air. The obvious uses are spraying finishes and air nailers and staplers but I often use it to blow out an area of wood chips or to clean off some woodwork. I have an old 1HP Craftsman (real 1HP) and it's fine for my use. I have one of those overhead reels so I can pull the hose down to any place in my shop.

    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Palm Springs, Ca
    I used to think the same way but then i bought a small pancake compressor on sale at HD. I started using it more than i thought i would for all the above (airbrush,pumping up tires,blowing out bowls and hollow forms etc-). I use it after turning alot to blow out the garage-like a air broom everything into a pile and pick up with a dust pan. I think its less hassle than unplugging the filter in my shop vac all the time (and i use it to clean the filter in my shop vac out lot also). It comes in very handy and you will use it alot.............................Dan

    PS-I recently upgraded to a Ingersol-Rand, vertical, 60gal and im lovin it..,..
    First you have to learn the rules - Beginner
    Then you have to learn advanced rules - Professional
    Then you disregard the rules - This takes you to the master level................

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I'll echo the other guys. Compressed air seems to remove more fine dust from a piece than a shop vac, so I always blow things off before applying the finish. Don mentioned air tools can be less expensive than the electric counterparts. That's true, and they often have better longevity, but they are not necessarily less expensive to run. My 2" pneumatic ROS is not very energy efficient hooked into a 5 HP compressor on a 40 amp 220v circuit, but it sure does the job nicely.

    When I installed my air system, I included an extra connection and hose reel (for my wife) by the shop door. We use it to sweep off the back patio, and LOML likes using it to blow the dust off her little ceramic figurines and other knick-knacks.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Two routes you can go here, just buy a really big one and be done with it, most of us would really miss NOT having a compressor in our shops. Second route is to buy a little pancake compressor, and use it, I think once you have a compressor around you will see the benefits of having it, and the benefits of it being a large one, as the oil-less pancake units get tiresome after a while.

    The nice thing about doing the second route is that you will most likely find a small portable compressor very useful as well, on site installations and such. Brad nailers and air staplers are great tools for lots of jobs!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    if you`re serious about "work" not just woodworkin` eventually you`ll end up with a "large" (at least to you now) compressor.
    the very smallest unit i would recomend is an american made 20 gal or so cast iron two lung pump.
    for a shop you`ll really be money ahead to buy a stationary unit that puts out 11+ cfm.
    i like quincy and ir brands, they`re a bit more expensive than the imports but are well made units that have very good parts networks.
    if you`re able go sit down and talk to an industrial compressor dealer they will be able to show you hands on size and quality difference.
    plumbing for air should really be addressed now just like your dust collection/electrical/plumbing/`s a "mechanical system" in builders terms. being as you are in the "footer" stage of construction give serious thought to how all of your systems are going to interact with oneanother.

    as far as "what will you use air for?"..............everybody has started the list and i`m sure more will chime in........but you`ll use air in a shop period!
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Like some of the other guys, I have a small 1.5 hp 4 gallon compressor. The only thing I use it for is blowing off tools and projects and use it for my nailers and staplers.
    Its small enough to haul out to the garage and pump up tires. I don't use it frequently but I would hate to give it up.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Everyone else has summed up the need for a compressor in a wood shop. I'll add that I started with a small portable, then changed to a larger portable and finally ended up with a 6hp 60gal that I got on a good deal from a friend. I wish I had had the big one all along.

    I spray most finishes and need the 10-11cfm my compressor provides. I'm sure you'll spray some finishes as well and an HVLP gun requires good air flow.

    One thing I'll add about using it for cleaning up projects or the shop in general. I use a shop brush, vacuum or dust collector for initial project cleaning and all shop cleanup. Using an air hose to blow the dust and chips off a tool is quick but it also creates a ton of airborne fine dust that gets into everything, including your lungs.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

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