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Forum topic by mnorusis posted 09-22-2010 05:17 PM 1414 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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153 posts in 3046 days

09-22-2010 05:17 PM

I use rags a decent amount for various tasks in the shop. Usually I buy the t-shirt material rags from Home Depot, but when using these rags to apply/wipe off BLO or for similar tasks, it seems that a bit of the t-shirt material gets left behind.

Can anyone recommend an alternative that will not leave anything behind when applying an oil/varnish hand rubbed finish?


13 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 09-22-2010 05:42 PM

Used and well-washed tee shirts.
They are free – just ask family, friends and acquaintances.

-- 温故知新

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3551 days

#2 posted 09-22-2010 05:46 PM

I use the blue Scotts shop paper towels. they are thick, soft, and don’t leave any lint behind. I use them as multipurpose disposable towels to clean/wipe things (sharpening, water, tools, etc) buff and wipe wax on cast iron parts of tools, wipe on finish, wipe on mineral oils, and the list goes on and on.

the only thing is they can catch on sharp edges and tear (splinters etc) so make sure your piece is properly ready and smooth for finishing (which you should do anyway)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3725 days

#3 posted 09-22-2010 06:18 PM

Mike, I am with Sharon on this. I have used wiping cloths but, as you mentioned, they shed lint fibers so I prefer to use clean paper shop towels as well. When they get a little worn or catch on edges, as Sharon mentioned, they will start to shed but it is easy to get another one.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View mnorusis's profile


153 posts in 3046 days

#4 posted 09-22-2010 09:19 PM

awesome, thanks everyone! I’ll give the shop towels a try.


View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4030 days

#5 posted 09-22-2010 09:32 PM

FWIW: We use old cotton bed sheets and pillow cases at the artisan center where I teach.

-- 温故知新

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3149 days

#6 posted 09-22-2010 09:46 PM

You can try a goodwill or other thrift store. They sometimes sell big boxes of rags for $5. They’re the ripped/unusable stuff people drop off. One I used to buy from would even sort them out color wise.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View helluvawreck's profile


30112 posts in 2769 days

#7 posted 09-22-2010 10:01 PM

PurLev has a good tip. I just used paper towels to apply Watco oil on a box that I made and it worked great. I’m not sure the towels were Scotch towels though. Then just water ‘em down and put ‘em outside for a day or so and dispose.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View TJ65's profile


1375 posts in 2952 days

#8 posted 09-23-2010 12:26 PM

I agree with hobomonk about the bed sheets. They leave no lint etc. and I also use the cheap roll of dishcloth material when I’m not worried about lint on all the other stuff.

-- Theresa,

View canadianchips's profile


2600 posts in 2900 days

#9 posted 09-23-2010 01:39 PM

Hey , that TEE shirt is still good, it only has a few holes in it honey ! lol
Cotton sheets work well.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2753 days

#10 posted 09-23-2010 04:35 PM

Thrift stores usually have a bag sale once or twice a month. A few bucks for everything you can stuff in a bag. Huge value.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2963 days

#11 posted 09-24-2010 02:02 AM

I bought a 5 pound white knit rags for $8 at local paint shop. It comes in a boxes. 3 pound for $5
They work great.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3206 days

#12 posted 09-24-2010 03:41 AM

I also use the boxes of thick paper towels from the Home Depot.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View JimDaddyO's profile


533 posts in 2982 days

#13 posted 09-24-2010 03:37 PM

Anything that is fabric and at the end of it’s life goes in the rag box. Some of it is not very usefull for finishing, but it is good for wiping dirty hands or greasy parts.

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

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