Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Reducing Tool Noise, Part 2
Last week we looked at power tool noise and vibration, part one. And we covered tool selections options, tool stands, and belts and pulleys as sources of noise. Today, part two (and last) -- more of the same.

One of the main sources of tool noise is the vibration that's set up by the motor. The best way to dampen this noise is to absorb the vibration before it's transferred to other parts of the tool or stand.

One way to do this is to insulate the base of the tool from the stand. To do this, you can use a rubber-like pad that's specially designed to absorb vibration. This pad can either be cut to match the "footprint" of the tool, as in the case of a scroll saw that sits on a table stand. Or you can cut the pad into strips to fit between the frame of a motor and the mounting plate.

But the best thing the ShopNotes magazine guys say they've used for soaking up motor vibration is a special product called "isolation mounts." Basically, they're hard rubber cylinders (feet) with a threaded hole at each end for a mounting bolt.

What makes these mounts work is that the holes (and the mounting bolts that thread into them) don't go all the way through. Instead, they're separated by a rubber cushion that helps dissipate the vibration. Anti-vibration pads and isolation mounts are available at woodworking stores and power tool mail order sources.

When it comes to noise, one of the worst culprits is your table saw blade. Luckily, there are some easy remedies to reduce its shrill sound. First, it just makes sense that cutting with a sharp clean blade produces less noise than a worn blade (about 3dB difference).

Also, set the height of the blade so it's only slightly higher than the thickness of the workpiece. This can be 2dB quieter than cutting with the blade at maximum height.

Another thing you can use to reduce noise is a blade stabilizer. They're designed primarily to stiffen the blade when cutting thick stock, but it can knock off another 2dB.

Finally, several blade manufacturers have started to produce "quiet" blades. These blade are designed to reduce the high pitched ringing you typically get when you make a cut. Their secret is a series of very narrow slots that are cut in the body of the blade. While the slots don't eliminate the vibration that causes the ringing, they do direct it to a "plug" at each end of the slot. These plugs act as shock absorbers to dampen the sound.

As if anticipating this week's comments on anti-vibration pads, Frank Brinker and Steve Zawalick wrote to suggest using old (or perhaps new) computer mouse pads to absorb vibration. The price is certainly right. You can use the whole pad, or cut the pads into strips.

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