I have had a few “hurricanes” in my
boat shop and they generally end about midnight. The hurricane
I am talking about now is the one that comes in a fairly large
canister and provides wind that sucks up all of the dirt you
can find. Not just dirt either, it will pick up water or spilled
liquid (but nothing flammable). You all know where I’m
going but the ride should be fun! I am about to tell you some
of my favorite Shop-Vac stories and about some great products
It was just before December and I had been feeling
puny for weeks and man did it snow. I was watching the snowfall
and hoping the six-foot drift in the front yard would go away
by itself. It did, the snow turned to rain and most of the snow
was gone after a couple of days. That is when I went outside
and discovered the custom cover on my sister’s boat had
about a ton of water trapped on top of it. I knew I was in big
trouble but the weather was still cold. There was a layer of
ice over the water to top it all off. UH-OH! I tried to get
the water out with my little jackrabbit pump but soon I realized
it was going to take longer than the amount of time I had sunlight
left in the day. The light bulb finally went on in my head…Duh!
I have a wet dry vacuum that runs.
I started pumping and I could see the individual
string on the seams of the cover (it was stretched that far).
Luckily, I had a water pump in the Shop-Vac! This Shop-Vac has
a separate pump driven by the motor that hooks to a common ¾”
garden hose and can deliver the water anywhere you might want
it. I pumped for about one hour and I had the water out. I didn’t
want to break the ice with all of the water still in the cover.
I still had a three-inch thick ice block that might tear the
cover anyway. It was way too heavy to lift, at least for my
back. I decided to hit it once in the center with a shovel.
It broke the first time I tried but I still had a ton of small
pieces to get out of there. If I used the shovel, I could tear
the cover but I found a better way. I just stuck the vacuum
hose on each piece and it was strong enough to lift each one
until I had enough out to just lift the cover and let them spill
on the ground.
One emergency covered and the Shop-Vac pulled
through like a champ. I also have a 6 1/4 horse power Ultra
Pro with sixteen-gallon capacity Shop-Vac sent as a test unit.
I have it hooked to a Shop-Vac sawdust collection
system that works like the big systems. I can’t use a
big system now since I sold my house in town and moved out to
my house on the lake. The shop I use is too small so I am building
another shop this year but the Shop-Vac system still works better
than most. I can even run my big planer perfectly but it is
on the closest blast gate to the Shop-Vac.
Now putting together six-inch pipe for a long
run you have to take the ceiling route because there are just
too many curves for that pipe around the walls. Not so with
the Shop-Vac 801-75 Workshop Dust Collection System.
It is perfect for the garage shop or even a big
shop but you can run all of the tubing around the wall at eye
level. The reason I say that is when a system clogs, finding
it is much more easy at that height and with clear tubing. Previously,
I have plugged four inch metal tubing but not the tubing in
the Shop-Vac kit yet. I now have it running from under my Tool-Dock
bench where the power unit is, up to the router bench, then
on to the drill press and planer. I move the planer when I use
it for more room. I then run the clear tubing up to the ceiling
(I know I broke my own rule) then to my large jigsaw and then
around the other side of the shop and down to the table saw
and guard. It then runs down to the other router table on the
table saw to the miter saw and finally to my band saw.
You just slide the fittings together by hand,
no gluing is necessary. You have to purchase the rubber hose
separately. I just find a big roll on sale and cut each hose
I want to the correct length. If you buy every thing on sale,
you can have your whole shop done for about $220.00. That is
with the Shop-Vac power unit included!
I have provisions to run a hose to my JointAbility
and many of the other machines I still have stored from my move.
I feel bad because I just have plywood floors now but my wife
will get this shop when my new shop is finished. I will lose
my small band saw and jigsaw to my wife but that is just fine
because I know where they are. I have many sawhorses, workbenches
and just plain machine stands that I cannot fit. The Shop-Vac
system will still be used in my bigger shop, you can bet on
I use the Shop-Vac for my wood pellet stove in
the house and soon for the bathroom remodeling (after the shop
is built, that is). I have to do that or die, according to my
wife. You can put a bag in these new machines and dumping the
contents is not a huge mess anymore. Drywall installers use
them all the time now. I wish I had one of them on the first
boat I built at home. I wish I had one on the first house I
built. I got by using an old canister vacuum and emptying it
every two minutes. These new Shop-Vac tools are mind blowing.
On their website is a story of a couple taking their sailboat
out and finding it taking on water too fast. They started the
motor and the bilge pump wouldn’t work. Luckily, the wife
started the Shop-Vac water pump unit and it worked better than
the bilge that they eventually got started.
I think every boat owner should have one of these
water pump models. Power inverters are getting less expensive
and if you have a couple of batteries with a good alternator,
you could pump a ton of water very fast. They will even pump
water up to fifty-two feet high! So if your bilge was full you
could pump the water up to the top of the mast and watch it
cascade back into the water on the outside of the boat.
Now I try not to be negative but this was really
misinformation. I had purchased a Craftsman Wet-Dry Vac and
on the canister it stated that the air coming from it was blowing
at over 200 miles per hour. I tested it with my Kestrel 2000
meter and it barley blew over 185 mph. It had a detachable blower
motor unit they claimed was 6 1/2 horsepower.
When I tested the 6 horsepower Shop-Vac Water
Pump Vacuum, it had a wind speed in the 220-mph range. These
were unscientific tests but they proved to me that the Shop-Vac
had more power. The other Shop-Vac Ultra Pro 6 1/4 horse power
vacuum spun the meter in the 230-mph range. That is cooking
and maybe I should replace the impeller unit on the Kestrel
2000 meter now. That ’s where I get the “hurricane”
A good friend of mine has one of the smaller units
with a beater brush attachment on it.
He keeps his pickup cab factory-fresh with that
baby. When he pulls in his garage, he vacuums it every time.
That’s a little “anal retentive” for me but
he is a great guy who loves his pickup. I am not rich and I
cannot afford boat covers for all of my boats. I also have a
large group of trees in my yard and next door. With that Shop-Vac
pump model, I can clean all the fall leaves inside a boat in
about seven minutes each. I just dump the leaves out on my burn
pile and I’m done.
We have one of those airbeds for company to sleep
on (we only have a one bedroom home now). That Shop-Vac can
inflate the bed in 20 seconds. I have a king size waterbed and
my wife bought a replacement mattress for the frame since it
also has drawers under it. I took the water mattress out and
to get the last little bit of water from it I blew it up with
the airside of the Shop-Vac. You cannot believe how tall a mattress
can get when it is full of air. I am 5’10” tall
and it was way over my head. I moved it on the snow in the front
yard and I received the strangest looks from passers by. After
the water drained, I was able to vacuum every last bit of air
from the mattress and it shrank small enough to fit in a small
When my wife does cobwebs, she uses the Shop-Vac
because it gets the webs, the big spiders and any dust that
might be anywhere. Sometimes I have to reclaim possession of
the unit; otherwise, she would claim permanent ownership. These
units are just too handy not to use everywhere you find dirt,
water or debris. I think you should go to www.shop-vac.com
and see the wonderful lineup of Shop-Vacs they have. They have
contractor models, super quiet models, super pump models and
even Stainless Steel models for those of us who like shiny equipment.
You can get Shop-Vacs that range from small hand-held models
up to giant industrial units for factories. After doing my testing
on other brands compared to the original Shop-Vacs I will spend
my money on this brand name because they just perform better.
You can outfit your shop with a central Shop-Vac
unit and then keep everything clean. Seeing some of the workshops
of my friends, I wonder how they get a decent paint job with
all the dust in their shops. I wish I had tried these systems
before I bought the big units with six-inch metal pipe and 220
power. I am not saying that a Shop-Vac can be used in an industrial
site without any other system but in our small boat shops and
even on our boats these powerful units can sure clean things
up nicely. I want everyone to know I am now set up with my Shop-Vac
801-75-62 Workshop Sawdust collection system plus a few other
Shop-Vac items that keep my shop very clean. The perfect companion
for that system is the 18 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Ultra Pro Shop-Vac
I also have (and really like) the 16 Gallon Six
HP Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Pump Vac that has a pump built in with a
standard garden hose fitting that can pump water up to 52 feet
above it. That could get down to the bottom of any boat I own
with no problem. It really works hard and can make big water
messes disappear with no problem.
I now have a 1000-watt DC to AC converter that
I can hook to my boat batteries or my truck batteries to run
my Shop-Vacs. I have a huge tent that I use when I go camping
and now I can vacuum the tent before I take it down right in
the camp. The Shop-Vacs are very light for their power and between
my truck and the boat on the trailer I can store it on any trip.
Our tent is big enough for an inflatable couch and chairs to
go along with our inflatable sleeping mattress. It takes only
minutes now to inflate or deflate now with the Shop-Vac.
On the Shop-Vac site, there is a place to enter
your best Shop-Vac story and win a new Shop-Vac if your story
is picked for posting that month. It is always worth a try.
I hope I haven’t bored you with my stories but as you
have read my Shop-Vacs are very much a part of my boat building.
Most new power tools have places to hook your Shop-Vacs to capture
the sawdust and fiberglass dust before they become a problem.
Right now Amazon has a good
deal on the sawdust collection kit #Shop-Vac 801-75-62.
There is no excuse now to have a dusty shop!
From My Tool Crib To Yours