This wood finishing tips card is called Cloth Finishing Pads. As you use hand applied finishes, you will end up needing a lot of small disposable pads. These are expensive if you buy them, so make them instead. Here is what you can do to make these pads for pennies.
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Cloth Finishing Pads
When you apply finishes by hand, you are going to go through a lot of pads. The point of the pad is to be a small, disposable items that you use and toss each time. If you make a lot of projects, you will need a lot of pads. Fret not, because they are easy to come by.
One of the most basic ways that new finishers in particular come across finishing pads is to cut up an old shirt. This is typically born from a need that arises at the last minute. This being the need for a small cloth pad.
When you cut up your undershirts, remember to not use the parts from the neck and the armpits. These areas are higher in soil residue, and also have deodorant residue that can interfere with how the finish works.
Instead, cut the sections from the center of the shirt on the front and on the back. These areas are large, and they can give you a lot of pads. Though the shirts are free, they do take a lot of work to get the finishing pads from them. Instead, try this trick for a very large supply of very inexpensive pads…
Making Finishing Pads
Buy a yard or two of a soft white cotton fabric. The fabric will not be very expensive, and you can cut hundreds and hundreds of small cloth squares from the material. This will last you a long time, and you can always know that you will have clean finishing pads available.
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Cut a section of material that you feel you have time to thoroughly cut into small pieces, and begin cutting long strips. After you have all of your strips, you can lay a few together and cut the squares from the end. Repeat this until the pads are all cut and collected.
Once you have them all, place them inside zip lock bags. This will keep the pads clean, which was the entire point of buying the fresh cotton cloth. Keep some of the bags in storage, and keep one out to work with.
What Size Should You Cut Your Pads?
The size really depends on what you are comfortable with. It also depends on the size of project that you are working with. Some people also like to fold their pads, while others layer a few on top of each other.
If you are making mid sized projects, a pad that is about three inches square is a good starting point. If you would like to fold over one piece several times, then four inches or five inches square will work better.
For those that just want to take out a few patches and apply a finish, cut them into two inch square pieces. Then, all you have to do is grab a few of them and make a small stack before you start applying your finish.
Why Use Clean Cotton For Your Finishing Pads
When you apply a finish, you need to use a cloth that is clean, and that does not leave behind small bits of fiber. White cotton works really well, because it fulfills both of those requirements, and is also inexpensive too.
The cloth that you use will have finish poured directly on the surface. If the material has plastic fibers, dyes, or other man made additives, they can interact with the finish and alter the look. This is much more of an issue with dye colors, because the solvents in the finish can make the colors run.
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White cotton works really well, and it doesn’t color the finish. Also, when you cut your patches, the material cuts cleanly, and does not leave behind loose fibers. Anything that falls off the cloth can be sealed inside the finish, and that’s not good.
Wood Finishing Tips – Cloth Finishing Pads Wrap-Up
The easiest way to get a huge supply of cotton finishing pads is to buy a yard of material, and cut small squares. Then, put the squares in zip lock bags to keep then clean. As you use the pads, and you deplete your bag, bring out another.
If you are really into applying finishes by hand, you will need a lot of pads. Making your own lets you control the quality, and also ensures that you do not run out. Save a ton over store bought pads by simply doing it yourself.
If you have any questions about Wood Finishing Tips – Cloth Finishing Pads, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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