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Last Updated: , Created: Sunday, January 14th, 2001

How to make a tack cloth.

Randy asked if I could find the formula for making a tack cloth, that sticky cotton cloth that is used to remove all the dust before putting down a quality clear varnish or lacquer.

You can of course buy ready-made tack cloths. But if you want to do it yourself:

Take a piece of cotton cloth or cheese cloth about the size of a dish towel or smaller. Dampen it thoroughly with water. Wring it as dry as you can. Wad it up and pour an ounce or two of turpentine over it. Work the wad in your hands, distributing the turpentine throughout the cloth. Wring it dry again. Ball the cloth up into a wad once more and pour an ounce or two of varnish over it. Thoroughly massage the wad to spread the varnish. Open it up and examine the color. It should be uniformly yellow. If it isn't, work the wad some more.

The tack rag should be just barely damp. Hang it up for a few minutes to dry if it is too wet. To use the rag, just fold it to size and wipe the surface with it. As you use the rag, it will become too dry -- add small amounts of water and turpentine to keep it moist.

Between uses, keep the rag in a glass jar with a screw-on lid to avoid the possibility of spontaneous combustion.


Keywords: Finishes, Tack Cloth, Dust

Article 1137