Old T-Shirts for Applying Finish??

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Forum topic by Matt in Franklin posted 01-16-2014 09:32 PM 748 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 882 days

01-16-2014 09:32 PM

Hi all,

Would you advise the use of my old t-shirts (think Hanes/FoTL) as wiping rags for applying stains/oils/varnishes? Or would these be more suitable as cleanup rags?

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

11 replies so far

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


3719 posts in 1620 days

#1 posted 01-16-2014 09:34 PM

Yep, they’re very good for that use.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View pintodeluxe's profile


4585 posts in 2082 days

#2 posted 01-16-2014 09:35 PM

That will work fine for applying stains. I either use lint free washrags, or spray on stain. Both methods work fine, although spraying is quicker on large or complex projects.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View TheDane's profile


4777 posts in 2932 days

#3 posted 01-16-2014 09:36 PM

Yup … I cut them into squares (about 8” x 8”) and use them to apply Danish Oil and wipe-on varnishes/poly.

Just make sure they are clean.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

20095 posts in 1607 days

#4 posted 01-16-2014 09:39 PM

Should work fine. Some of the store bought rags you get are cut up Tshirts.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Marcus's profile


1144 posts in 1289 days

#5 posted 01-17-2014 01:44 AM

I almost exclusively use t-shirts for finishing. I have a ton of undershirts from work that get some pretty nasty pit stains on them, so I cut the non nasty parts out and used them in the shop. Work great.

View gfadvm's profile


14777 posts in 1959 days

#6 posted 01-17-2014 01:59 AM

I buy those boxes of cut up T shirts at HD to apply stain and shellac. Works great.

I WEAR my old T shirts until my wife throws them out!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jerrells's profile


891 posts in 2154 days

#7 posted 01-17-2014 01:14 PM

YEP they work great at this workshop

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View gtbuzz's profile


426 posts in 1710 days

#8 posted 01-17-2014 01:34 PM

They’ll work fine for that. One thing I’ll recommend is after you cut them up, run them through the wash a few times so that any loose fibers on the edges get broken away in the washing machine or dryer.

View Danpaddles's profile


550 posts in 1581 days

#9 posted 01-17-2014 02:12 PM

I think the ones you’ve worn for 4 years are better then the boxed rags at the BORG. Less lint on the shirts you’ve washed 50 times.

Don’t know of any better rags for woodworking.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile


418 posts in 997 days

#10 posted 01-17-2014 02:23 PM

I only use white ones.

View Matt in Franklin's profile

Matt in Franklin

294 posts in 882 days

#11 posted 01-17-2014 07:49 PM

I cut up about 30 of my old white T-shirts last night. I had been saving them for a couple three years or so to use as general cleaning rags for paint or grease, but I think now I have a better use for them.

-- Follow me on instagram and facebook @mwawoodworks ,,

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