Dust in finish, how do you deal with this?

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Forum topic by Jason Wheeler posted 09-15-2009 02:47 AM 1850 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jason Wheeler

42 posts in 3825 days

09-15-2009 02:47 AM

I’m not sure how you all deal with dust landing on your finish wile it’s drying, please let me in on any tips you might have??

I’m tring to finish up a real cool hall table made with blood, maple, wallnut and lace wood. I’m using some tung oil, I first had it down in the shop and I was having better luck. I moved it upstairs to a spair bedroom thinking it would help but I belive what I’m seeing now is small carpet fibers. It looks killer when I first apply it but when I go back I can see the small dust bits. Is there some type of air filter that I can put in my shop to help this or should I treat the finish some other way??


14 replies so far

View Xtreme90's profile


193 posts in 3221 days

#1 posted 09-15-2009 03:17 AM


My advice would be to take the piece back down in the shop. Before you do this take a half hour and blow off the dust (wear a mask if you have one) in all nooks and crannies with an air compresor if you have one to remove heavy loose dust. Then vacum up any remains of the dust & be picky in the area you plan to finish. Let the shop settle for about an hour to let any micro fine airborne dust settle to the ground. Then if you want take bed sheets and square off a corner floor to ceiling to create somewhat of a dustproof area. I hope this helps, in the near future if you do get into just finishing furniture or maybe into more than just a hobbyist shop as I’m asuming it would be wise to invest in air filtration and full dust collection.


-- "I don't cut wood. I machine it!" G.M. The wood machinest

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3605 days

#2 posted 09-15-2009 03:25 AM

Xtreme has some good advise but it might take some paint thinner to wipe all the dust off. I’ve spent all day sometimes cleaning my shop just to get ready for applying finish.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3924 days

#3 posted 09-15-2009 04:10 AM

a1Jim is right. It is amazing how much dust is still present even when the air seems clear.

-- Sam

View stadler's profile


12 posts in 3204 days

#4 posted 09-15-2009 07:13 AM

Tung is a good penetrating oil, but dries slowly. Cheat to win by using a wiping varnish as a topcoat over the tung. Take something like Interluxe’s Jet Dry spar varnish, cut it by half (or so) with naptha, wipe it on with a rag, and right away wipe off the excess. This would be over the tung, which you could apply directly before. Then hang a plastic garbage bag over it as a tent. It should be tack free in a half hour.

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3426 days

#5 posted 09-15-2009 09:13 AM

I also struggled with airborn dust getting in finishes. I finaly got a good air cleaner (Powermatic) and run that for an hour and then shut it down before I do any finishing and have all but eliminated extra particles in my finishes. What still shows up buffs out instantly.

-- Tom Hintz,

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3303 days

#6 posted 09-15-2009 02:48 PM

Shellac – it dries before the dust has a chance to settle on it.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3555 days

#7 posted 09-15-2009 04:06 PM

Xtreme90 has good advise and if you use sheets, NOT plastic, use a spray bottle of water and very lightly dampen the cloth. That will hold any dust onto the fabric and not float onto your project.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Jason Wheeler's profile

Jason Wheeler

42 posts in 3825 days

#8 posted 09-15-2009 09:15 PM

Hey, you guys are great help, I cleaned up the shop waited for a couple hours and went to it.

I started to notice that the cloth I was using is leaving some bits behind. I looked in the closet and found my cleanest dirty shirt, I’m not sure if I’m being to picky or not??? Is there such a thing? What type of rags do you use? every thing I seen in the closet looked like it was just a bunch of lint just waiting to stick to oil?

I’m not sure about polishing? Can I sand with some 1000 to 2000 grit and hand rub it with some type of paste or wax?

I think I’ll pick up some shellac, don’t get me wrong, I still want to use tung oil but I want to try some other options for future projects.


View CanadaJeff's profile


207 posts in 3638 days

#9 posted 09-15-2009 09:48 PM


Prevention is the best medicine. If its possible dedicate a closed off portion of your shop as a clean zone strickly for finishing products. If thats not possible, I say clean up as much as possible first, block all drafts entering the room, let any dust in the air settle and than work slowly as to not stir up any remaining dust in the shop.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3555 days

#10 posted 09-15-2009 10:22 PM

As the Woodwhisperer and I, use clean pieces of old T-Shirt material, it is almost lint free, tight weave and soft. Watch Marc’s dvd on finishing, he does a great job showing simple and accuratly how to get a great finish.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View CoolDavion's profile (online now)


434 posts in 3853 days

#11 posted 09-19-2009 04:41 PM

I’ve used coffee filters to wipe down projects after sanding, etc. They are lint free, just change them often.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4429 days

#12 posted 09-19-2009 04:52 PM

And when dust has settled there I’ll use 600 to 1000 grit sandpaper and a soft sanding block (cork, felt or homemade homosote) and knock them down and it doesn’t kill the gloss. Just lightly touch the surface.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View robscastle's profile


5109 posts in 2232 days

#13 posted 06-15-2014 10:48 PM

I found the same problem, and it was driving me crazy
So i decided to buy a net gazebo or similar ( I go camping anyway) and put it up in the outside some when I need to do spraying and spray in there.

Works every time,

And the result is:

-- Regards Rob

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 1577 days

#14 posted 06-16-2014 12:28 AM

All great advice above. I spray my shop (concrete) floor with a water sprayer before I shoot finish. It helps keeps some dust down from walking around.

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