Expecting to nail a fine coat of stain or simply any top layer added on wood, without proper sawdust removal is definitely going to upset you. As that’s an open invitation to doom. It’s true that to your eyes, the fine dust is almost invisible. And it may not visually matter.
But when you leave those on a wood surface that will have some sort of finish, no matter if a stain or varnish, the results will be very muddy in color. Not to mention the rough texture that feels uncomfortable to touch. And all of these are avoidable if you give some time to learning a simple thing, exactly what we’ll be discussing today. Yes, let’s find out how to clean sawdust off wood before staining or applying any type of finish and practically kick out such issues.
Here’s How to Clean Sawdust Off Wood Before Staining It.
The sawdust can be of a portable table saw or other types. It does not matter how more or less fine those are. The process is a general one that works with any sort of sawdust. However, you need to pay attention to the place where you’ll work, tools, and supplies gathering as well as succeeding steps. Keep on Reading…
Start with These Preparations
Choosing an ideal location that allows you to work without any disturbance is the very first thing you’ll want to make sure of. Anywhere that access your pets to place their paws in curiosity or the kids poking fingers at your working piece is definitely out from this list. As these can get some really bad looking prints on the overall finish.
You also want to make sure there’s no dust around the spot. You don’t want the clean surface to get back to where it was. Also, this isn’t good for the stain application stage as well. You also want to make sure the area has some good ventilation going around.
Finally, grab these tools and supplies for your cleaning project:
- Clean fabrics.
- Denatured alcohol.
- Tack fabric.
- Woodworking shop Vacs or air compressor.
Give the Surface a Vacuum or Blow Off
Use a blower nozzle with your air compressor. Then get rid of all the sawdust bulk from surface. This will also help in eliminating the sanding residue if there’s any. Try to use a vacuum if you can. This tool will help get even microscopic dust. However, you want to use a shop vacuum for the finest result along with a fitted filter of good quality.
The thing with regular vacuums is that you may end up leaving exhaust dust onto room. And this can later go resettle with the wooden surface. Making things go back to how it was. So instead of a standard filter, a shop vac with a trap attachment would give you astounding result for a good blow-off.
Use a Dry & Cloth to Wipe the Surface
Get a clean, soft, and dry cloth for this next step. You want to give the surface a good wipe with it. Try to use white cloth here. In that way, you’ll be able to see how much dust is getting accumulated. Once the cloth seems too dirty to continue, you can easily change that way. You want to cover all the areas including corners of wooden surface to get most sawdust out of it.
Next, Use a Tack Cloth for Wiping
Now you want a special item called tack cloth. Basically, this is a cheesecloth that is very loosely woven. It also has beeswax impregnated. The cloth has capability of catching all dust that vacuum or dry cloth misses out on.
You want to cut these into square pieces first. Then use it for gently wiping the wood surface. Make sure to reach the whole area of surface. You also want to take breaks and check the gathered dust in it. So that you don’t use too dirty clothes for a long period and change timely.
Another benefit of using a tack cloth is ensuring better sanding. If this cloth seems to snag with the surface, it means sanding wasn’t done properly. And then, you’ll need to re-sand it for smoothing out the rough texture. A smooth surface is a must for those who want to see an even and perfect staining result. Once the tack cloth seems to smoothly glide over surface, you can assure yourself that sanding was properly done.
Concluding with Denatured Alcohol
Now you can very well stop after the tack cloth step. But many expert woodworkers like to finish the process with a denatured alcohol wiping session. Use a clean cloth and then moist it with some denatured alcohol.
Then use this cloth to wipe the surface you want to stain. This thing can grab all the finest ducts that might be still left on surface. It has the ability to evaporate very fast. And that’s why you don’t have to worry about discoloring the wood. Even for a surface that will be used for food such as a bread tray or cutting board, it is safe for use.
Things to Keep in Mind
After the cleaning step, look for holes, cracks, and joints that seem to be loose. Don’t jump into the staining process right after.
Don’t work in direct sunlight or keep the wooden surface there for too long. As once you are done cleaning, the surface will be heated already. And this can cause bubbles in your stain later on.
From the very elementary prep step to the actual process of how to clean sawdust off wood before staining, seems like we’ve talked over a lot today. Hopefully, this decision will bring some good outcomes once you are done staining. Cleaning sawdust is one of the major prep steps for staining o finishing.
And leaving it out can end up making you regretful once the surface turns into what you didn’t want it to. It may take a bit of your time for a proper and thorough sawdust cleanup. But it’s so much worth the ending results. So, if you are not in an emergency with whole staining, don’t miss this very important step before for better outcome of the wooden surface.