Finishing without crippling the shop?

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Forum topic by drpdrp posted 02-24-2014 06:44 AM 1415 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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150 posts in 2288 days

02-24-2014 06:44 AM

Maybe this should be in the finishing section…

My current process for finishing is roughly this:

On a day where I’ve created no dust- start the finishing process.
Coat, wait, coat, etc… while not making any dust.
Be able to make dust again several days later.

Is there a way to not cripple the shop during this phase?

24 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


4045 posts in 2009 days

#1 posted 02-24-2014 12:53 PM

You can always do your finishing outside; weather permitting.


View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2288 days

#2 posted 02-24-2014 01:07 PM

Sadly I do a lot of my work at night and it is rough for lighting and with the dew.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 2312 days

#3 posted 02-24-2014 01:16 PM

I ran into the same thing. I also had to use my table saw as an assembly table, so it meant that when something was glued up I had to stop. The dust thing will be a constant battle, but what I have done is this…

My finishing area is as far away as possible form the heaviest dust producers. I got myself a proper dust collection system. I curtained off my finishing area with plastic, and up next is to build a couple of ambient air cleaners, and position them in a way to pull air out of my finishing area. Obviously it will not be sealed but my plan is to go with a negative pressure approach.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2918 days

#4 posted 02-24-2014 01:23 PM

this is the worst part of woodworking in a small shop – no designated spray booth.

I don’t even like to walk thru the room after I’ve sprayed, much less turn on a power tool.

I create a temporary spray booth out of plastic but it’s not to keep dust out, it’s to protect the shop from overspray.

sorry bud, you gotta deal with it too.

View bondogaposis's profile


5157 posts in 2593 days

#5 posted 02-24-2014 01:52 PM

My shop is the garage, I do my finishing in the basement.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2177 days

#6 posted 02-24-2014 02:19 PM

I think 99% of us run into this, because most of us can’t afford a second shop or area just for finishing. I finish on my back porch most of the time. It is covered, so dew isn’t a problem, and there is less dust there than in my shop. For this exact reason, I have really had to move towards oil or wipe-on finishes that dry quickly or can be wiped off. I find that no matter what I do, I will have some dust nibs in any finish that is not wiped off (such as danish oil or other oils). I have found a good medium with wipe on oil based poly. I apply coat by coat, smoothing in between. The finished product can be very smooth and soft to the touch, it just isn’t an easy process.

Sorry man, but it think most of us are doomed to dust nibs. For this exact reason, my dream shop will have 3 separate areas for metalwork, woodwork, and finishing.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2626 days

#7 posted 02-24-2014 05:33 PM

Wooden oyster beat me to it, but I’ve pretty much gone with wiping finishes exclusively. I used brushes early on, but get much better results without them. I use wipe-on-poly for most “real” projects, tung oil for shop projects. I don’t think I’ve used a brush for wood finishing in several years…save them for painting your house.

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2316 days

#8 posted 02-24-2014 05:56 PM

I’ll be up against the finishing/dust issue in the future, after I get done making up my interior trim, which is Ash.

Regarding “wipe on” poly, thought I read somewhere (maybe here on LJ) that wipe on oil base poly was basically regular poly thinned with mineral spirits. Is that right? I’ve generally used Minwax quick dry, brushed on, and with satisfactory results. Can the quick dry be thinned and used as a wipe on? Or, would I/we need a wipe on poly specifically labeled as a wipe on? Also (maybe a dumb question) what is used to wipe the poly on with, just an old T-shirt ok?

Sorry don’t mean to hi-jack the thread but thought these questions might also be of interest to others as well.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2288 days

#9 posted 02-24-2014 11:06 PM

Well at least I am not alone…

What are you guys wiping on the poly with?

View mahdee's profile


4045 posts in 2009 days

#10 posted 02-24-2014 11:40 PM

bbc557ci, wipe on is 4-1 ratio. If you thin it out, you can apply 20 coats to get the desired finish. Very time consuming.


View mahdee's profile


4045 posts in 2009 days

#11 posted 02-24-2014 11:42 PM

I wipe my wipe-on with my hands; no rags


View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2288 days

#12 posted 02-25-2014 03:15 AM

Jinx tell me you are kidding!

I bought a bag of dustless rags and they turn to semi solid goop!

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 3720 days

#13 posted 02-25-2014 03:29 AM

Watch some videos of Andy Pitts on Youtube. He does wipe on with his hands all the time. His work is beautiful.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2352 days

#14 posted 02-25-2014 04:02 AM

I ran a clothesline around the entire shop.

If I want to wipe a finish on, I use a fan to force air in, creating a positive pressure, dust-free clean zone. When I spray, I turn the fan around to evacuate the air and create a negative pressure spray area. I spray water base only.

I prefer cloth curtains over plastic because cloth is washable, easier to fold and store, it’s less flammable than many plastics, and dried finish and dust won’t flake off at inopportune times. Curtains are CHEAP at yard sales, or you can save old curtains and sheets as you replace your home examples.

View drpdrp's profile


150 posts in 2288 days

#15 posted 02-25-2014 07:16 AM

Cessna I’ve thought about doing that. When you do the positive pressure- where is the air coming from? I worry about just drawing in dust.

Tell me about spraying. I saw a guy spray stain on in a video and wanted to have his babies after. Can you spray clearcoat too?

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