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I give you the benefit of my wisdom (truthfully, my ability to copy and paste….):

A tack cloth is one of the best ways to remove dust and grit before applying a finish, to make one soak a cheese cloth in water, wring out the water, soak it in turpentine, wring it out again, drip enough clear varnish on the cheesecloth to make it evenly gummy throughout. Store it in a jar with a lid to keep it from drying out.

EDIT: or … this link has good info:

http://www.thesuperhandyman.com/tackrag.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That sounds easy enough. I was thinking it would be something that had to be used right away, being able to store and use it when needed is gonna be a big plus. Thanks Beener. Does Lowes or h-depot sell turpintine?
 

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David:

I've done professional finishing for about forty years.

A tack cloth can cause more problems than it fixes because you might be moving debris around or leaving streaks of sticky residue.

Use nothing but solvent, e.g. mineral spirits or turp, on a fresh and very clean cloth.
Never reuse the wiping cloth.
 

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SBOhio:
The term paint thinner is generic. Generally, it is mineral spirits and/or other petroleum distillates. Read the label.

A cloth dampened with water can also be used as a tack cloth. As long as you let the wood completely dry before applying a solvent and/or oil based finish. A waterborne finish can be applied before the surface is completely dry.

Note: Water on a raw wood surface may raise the grain and that's a good thing to do before final sanding.
 

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Throw the tack cloths out the door, and use a rag dipped in mineral spirits…. not too wet….not too dry.
It'll take care of any problems you find with dust….... 'nuff said…......
 

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Why is raising the grain a good thing? I am finishing a workbench and did wipe it down with one of the "Green" white colored solvents. (Trying to keep the vapors down in the winter shop.) I thought it was a bad thing when the grain raised and was unbelievably ruff. I sanded again and wiped down with mineral spirits before the first coat. If you just wipe with mineral spirits aren't you then skipping the grain raising?
 

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Why would you want to raise the grain on a workbench anyway? I don't think SBOhio is talking about a fine piece of furniture, unless I missed something.
 

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As I understand it, raising the grain a bit allows the first coat of finish to penetrate better. When the first coat is dry, hit with some 220-grit or finer and give it a light sanding.

I don't use tack cloths very often, but when I do, I used the pre-packaged throwaways from Rockler.
 

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That's what I was asking just in an effort to better understand the finishing process. Even though in my case it is just a work bench. Would those with more experience intentionally do a tack wipe that would raise the grain on a fine piece as part of a normal process to improve penetration?
 
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