Full Chisel Blog

June 17, 2012

The Best Tack Cloth in the World!

Filed under: Finishing,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:15 am

When finishing a tack cloth is important to prepare the surface and remove any residue that could interfere with or effect the finish.  Over the course of many years I have gone through a number of those slightly sticky, some sort of petroleum distillate impregnated bits of cheesecloth.  They fill up, dry out and sometimes leave a bit of their stickiness on the surface it is suppose to clean, especially when new.

And there is the problem of storing them and remebering where they are.  While you may loose these, they don’t go bad.

While researching Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes, I discovered the ultimate tack cloth, that had been in use for centuries, the Washing Leather.

I like this one from Lee Valley, you get two of these marine oil treated pieces of leather that are not from the endangered and protected South American antelope.  When ready to use they are moistened with water [I use distilled water, so as not to introduce minerals or chemicals].  The water is then squeezed out of the washing leather, then using it slightly damp to remove any surface residue.

They can be cleaned by washing with soap and water.  I use one regularly to clean my eye glasses as well as keeping one in the shop.  One of those things I wished I had  discovered earlier in my career as I would have saved a lot of money by using these renewable, all natural, no petroleum distillates, permanent and much more versatile.



  1. Cool! I’ll have to check them out. Are they different from Chamois!

    Comment by Vic Hubbard — June 17, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  2. Vic,

    They are the same as the old chamois that I remember, same properties as the old stuff, like the water in gasoline trick. I wonder if it will remove water from alcohol?


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — June 17, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  3. Thanks for the tip!

    Comment by Village Carpenter — June 17, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

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