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How to Keep Dust out of Your Wood Finish – A Guide

Why Keeping Dust out of Your Wood Finish Matters

As a wood worker your finish can mean the difference between a quality finished product or a mediocre project. The first thing you see about a finished wood project is the finish that is applied and dust in your finish will create issues with the way your finish appears resulting in a finish with specs and overall poor appearance. The good news is that you can usually help solve this issue whether you work in a production setting or as a hobbyist by following a few tips.

Tip 1 – Ensure you are removing residual dust left from sanding from the wood

The first and simplest reason you may have dust in your wood finish is that you are not properly preparing the wood. To remove dust from the wood you should use a tack cloth. A tack cloth is a wiping cloth that has been treated with a tacky material to help pick up dust.

Tip 2 – Protect the product from dust while painting

After having the product prepped your next important step is to help keep the product free from dust during actual application of coating. Helpful ideas to keep dust down in your finishing area include ensuring your shop has a dust collection system that is able to keep the majority of your dust down, which you can learn more about dust collection here. If you cannot afford a true dust collection system as you will not routinely be doing wood work you can consider using a simple shop vac and diligently cleaning the area you will be applying coating, you can also consider dampening the floor to keep dust down.

Another consideration that can help you keep dust down is considering a paint booth. To keep dust to the absolute minimum you would want to consider a paint booth with an air make up unit.  By having the air make up unit and proper controls the paint booth could allow for slight positive pressure in the paint booth. The positive pressure plus the enclosed booth would push dust away from the painting area as well as ensure you are meeting all pertinent safety standards when it comes to spraying coatings. If cost is a concern and your shop is big enough to not have issues with negative pressure you could consider a standard paint booth with filtered doors which would help reduce sand being pulled into the booth while painting.

Tip 3 – Have the finish cure faster

After you have finished painting your wood product the next concern is dust settling in the finish while the product dries. Until the finish is dry there is always the chance that dust in the shop air will drift down into the finish.To get around this issue there are a few practical ideas you can consider.

Idea 1 –  Select a coating that cures faster – the first thing you can consider is trying to find a coating that will meet your performance needs but may have a shorter cure cycle.  You can speak with a coatings provider that will help you know if there is a faster dry option that will provide a finish that looks right and performs well for your application.

Idea 2- Accelerate your cure time – Depending on the coating you may be able to accelerate dry time using a paint booth with cure abilities, infrared panels, or a convection oven.  Each type of equipment will have benefits and draw backs to consider. The paint booth and cure will allow for protection during coating and drying but may not allow for as fast of production as a convection oven and paint booth or infrared system (which these systems will often also require a booth anyway making them more expensive overall).

With your finish being critical to the appearance of your wood project, keeping dust out of the coating you apply is critical.  By thinking about how you can accelerate the coatings dry time, protect the product from dust during painting, and properly preparing the wood prior to coating it you can ensure your finish turns out well.

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