How do you remove the dust from a project before you finish it?

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Forum topic by Angela posted 01-18-2011 12:54 AM 27447 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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205 posts in 2862 days

01-18-2011 12:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: projects techniques tips ideas dust collection finishing sanding question

I usually use a vacuum then a damp paper towel and last a tack rag. Sometimes I use my air compressor.

I was wondering what methods people use to remove dust from the projects before finishing them?

Also what method do you use to remove the dust from the sanding between coats?

Also do you use a different method for porous woods like walnut or padauk?

I’d appreciate help with this.


-- - Helping other woodworker's

24 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 01-18-2011 01:00 AM

I use compressed air.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bigike's profile


4050 posts in 3254 days

#2 posted 01-18-2011 01:12 AM

I use either naphtha or mineral spirits or even just the denatured alcohol it all depends on what Finnish i use. Thants inbetween coats and before i even put a finnish, i still use compressed air too.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3366 days

#3 posted 01-18-2011 01:17 AM

Compressed air and a tack rag.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5807 posts in 3160 days

#4 posted 01-18-2011 01:58 AM

I hardly ever use compressed air, cause it will “push” the wooddust into the wood fibers. Also, I don’t use tackcloths….I don’t like them at all. I use a soft cotton rag (like a Tshirt) soaked in mineral spirits to clean the dust off. I usually let it dry(about an hour), and repeat the process, all the while running my air cleaner to suck up all the natural-born air particles…I make sure it’s pretty well cleaned up before I put on a finish(s). It really depends on the project I’m on, so when I’m building a piece for a customer, this is the process I use…....

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3339 days

#5 posted 01-18-2011 02:21 AM

I use the air compressor, and then I end up with dust all over my fresh finish :)
Getting some good pointers from this thread!


-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3710 days

#6 posted 01-18-2011 02:29 AM

I only do hand rubbed finishes so I just rub it in. It acts like a pore filler.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3026 days

#7 posted 01-18-2011 02:38 AM

The best way to do it is to vacuum.
If you you wipe the dust off, you are creating a grit that can cause scratches.

View bobasaurus's profile


3407 posts in 3150 days

#8 posted 01-18-2011 03:12 AM

I just wipe with a t-shirt after blowing it off with the shop vac’s exhaust (wish I had a compressor, though).

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3016 days

#9 posted 01-18-2011 04:17 AM

I tend to use my shop vacuum with a brush attachment and a diffuser on the back of the vacuum so it doesn’t exhaust air at such a high velocity. After vacuuming, I then tend to go over the project with a paper towel or rag soaked in mineral spirits. I’ll let that dry a bit, then get a new paper towel and continue going over it with mineral spirits until no more dust comes off.

I will probably switch to naptha soon as it dries a bit faster than MS.

All of my solvent soaked rags are immediately carried outside, where they’re placed in an open trashcan so they can continue to evaporate, whether it’s in the heat of the summer, or the dead cold of winter, I do this without exception!

I also use MS between coats if I did any scuff sanding, or if I ever use steel wool since it leaves little pieces everywhere. Again, vacuum, then use the MS to really clean it up.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3788 days

#10 posted 01-18-2011 04:27 AM

Angela, like a number of the other comments I use vacuum and a cloth/paper dampened with mineral spirits to remove sanding dust prior to applying finishes and after sanding between coats. I would tend to avoid using cloth dampened with water since contact with water will raise the grain.

The only time I will intentionally raise the grain is when I am going to apply a water base stain/dye or finish. Then, to get a smooth finish it is necessary to raise the grain prior to application of the water base product.

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

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3016 days

#11 posted 01-18-2011 04:36 AM

Scott, great point in regards to the water.

(I read that and was going to comment, but I’m at work right now and got distracted in the middle of my above post.)

I agree with everything you said about not using water, unless it’s before a waterbased finish to pre-raise the grain.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5807 posts in 3160 days

#12 posted 01-18-2011 05:08 AM

I have to EDIT: After going back and reading the other post, and then re-reading mine, I forgot to add that I also use a shop vacumn with a brush attachment, and then do the rest of it. Don’t know how I left that part out…...Got in a hurry, I guess….It all comes with age…..!!! But at least I’m not slowing down….yet..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3258 days

#13 posted 01-18-2011 05:16 AM

Vacuum. Then damp or MS cloth. Then I wait for a few hours for anything in the air to settle… and then I hit it very lightly with a tack cloth just an instant before I finish.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 2862 days

#14 posted 01-18-2011 08:25 AM

Thanks for your comments and ideas.
I use the water to raise the grain.
Tim I’ve never heard about rubbing it in the wood.
Thanks again I like to learn and to hear what other do.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

View Dez's profile


1166 posts in 4043 days

#15 posted 01-18-2011 09:05 AM

Compressed air in the initial stages of prep for the finish to remove the majority of dust.
Vacume and a clean brush (bench for the large areas and a fine bristle parts brush for the inside corners etc.)
Then a damp cloth (water, alcohol, mineral spirits etc. depending on the final finish) and a tack cloth.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

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