What finish is suitable for wood where I can wipe it with a damp cloth?

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Forum topic by InstantSiv posted 03-01-2016 02:00 PM 721 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1623 days

03-01-2016 02:00 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question finishing

My shop is in the basement and I want to keep it as clean as possible so dust doesn’t build up over the years. I’ve found what the dust collector and air filter doesn’t collect settles on the various tools/benches/carts in the shop overnight. I’ve been wiping the tools off and moping the floors once a month or so with great results but haven’t touched any of the wooden surfaces. What finish would protect wood to the occasional wipe down with a damp cloth?

One surface has paste wax on it… okay to wipe down?
One surface is mdf finished with polycrylic… okay to wipe down?
What would you suggest I finish bare wood with to wipe down?

Thanks for your input.

5 replies so far

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 03-01-2016 02:04 PM

For hand tools tools, I’ve been using a piece of an old white t-shirt sprayed with Camilla oil.

For workbench and other raw wood elements, I used BLO and a dust brush attachment on shop vac gets dust right off.

For painted wood, I just use the dust attachment on shop vac.

I use a HEPA filter in my shop vac.

View OSU55's profile


1703 posts in 2018 days

#2 posted 03-02-2016 12:44 PM

Anything that creates a film finish, even a thin one. That excludes blo or other oils and wax. I routinely use Zinsser waxed shellac to seal wood on jigs and other wood surfaces. Dewaxed can also be used. Easy to wipe off and liquids don’t soak in. Oil based poly or varnish (SW fast dry is pretty good) thinned ~50% and apply like waterlox or danish oil works well. In the shop shelves and wall cabinets get white paint to reflect more light.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5002 posts in 2522 days

#3 posted 03-02-2016 01:05 PM

I have to agree with OSU, aslong as it’s a damp cloth (as opposed to be soaking wet) and no solvents/cleaning agents involved almost anything that’s a film would work. I might favor an oil based varnish if I could get it, second to that would be a good acrylic (waterborne)...but any of them should stand up to the wiping you propose.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bondogaposis's profile


4770 posts in 2380 days

#4 posted 03-02-2016 01:08 PM

For MDF surfaces I like to dilute poly w/ mineral spirits. It really drinks it in so I saturate it on the first coat and give it all it will take. Then subsequent coats wipe and wipe off and top coat of paste wax.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ChrisK's profile


1973 posts in 3110 days

#5 posted 03-02-2016 01:55 PM

My work tops are MDF with 2 or 3 coats of poly. I can leave a cold can or drink on it and the water that condenses on the side is not a problem. Any scratches or other blade to work surface oopsies need to be re-coated to prevent water intrusion. When the top is to messy from paint and stain I sand it down and reapply a couple coats of poly.

I have a few areas were unintentional blade to work surface has been detected. At least MDF does not hurt the blade.

-- Chris K

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