View Full Version : How do I make tack cloth?

Marilyn (Guest)
09-14-2001, 03:29 AM
I know I've seen the directions on making your own tack cloth here on the forum (something to do with linseed oil and turpentine maybe???) but I could not find it when I went under "search". So, as I am getting really tired of paying almost a dollar for a little bitty cloth at Lowe's, I was hoping someone out there would share the "recipe" with me. Thanks!

09-14-2001, 07:38 AM
From "The Wreck" (rec woodworking)

"Get yourself a cotton rag or piece of cheesecloth. Soak it thoroughly in rosin or something else that will stay tacky, like spoiled shellac. Squeeze out the excess, and presto, you have a tack cloth. "

I made some from varnish and cheese cloth once, worked fine. Your window for using it isn't open as long as commercial tack cloth...but I'm like you...can't see paying for it :)

Tom D (Guest)
09-14-2001, 09:40 AM
My method has been to take poly and a little mineral spirts mix them about 50/50, soak your cotton rag in it then ring it out and put it in a jar with a lid. It will stay tacky for a long time in the jar. After you use it put it back in the jar till you use it all up.

Marilyn (Guest)
09-14-2001, 10:39 PM
Thanks Marc and Tom!! This place is like the best kind of library...all that knowledge and I can eat and play my music at the same time (darn Napster's demise):)

09-15-2001, 09:55 AM

First of all you take a piece of cloth and a small package of tacks... :D

I have a formula book that tells how to make your own tack cloth, probably the same as the info you have already received. My thinking is, though, that for as cheap as tack cloths are I have better things to do than make a mess trying to make my own.

Pastor Paul

09-15-2001, 10:42 AM
That's the whole point...They're NOT cheap! Besides...there's a mindset I have (and quite a few others I've noticed) to MAKE everything that's possible and intelligent to make rather than buy.

CorianKen (Guest)
09-15-2001, 12:02 PM
By the time I have found the materials, got the right amounts together and waited a while for them to dry, I have used up a Half hour. That is after I have spent 2 or 3 hours perfecting the formula. My time is worth more than $2.00 an hour.

Has anyone mentioned spontanious combustion. There have been a few articles written on the subject and the formulas that I have seen here are just like those that can start a fire in less than a half hour.

Sorry about the rant. I have already spent half a liftime making things and making do rather than buying the better solution from those that know. I have vowed not to do it again.


Sonny Edmonds
09-15-2001, 04:50 PM
...it was cheese cloth impregnated with bee's wax.
Right now I don't even have any (I don't think) or I'd check. Not that I've used it that much anyhow.
I just sorta figured I would be adding something to something I was trying to clean up.
So I usually just dampen a piece of cheese cloth with some mineral spirits for a wipe. And that's after whatever has gotten a good blow with compressed air.
But then I'm kinda weird in some ways.
(Shrug)....maybe a lot of ways. LOL :D

"Precision Firewood Specialist"

09-15-2001, 05:58 PM

Marilyn (Guest)
09-15-2001, 09:58 PM
Wow! so many missives over 96c worth of stuff :) Ok, I have to admit, I LIKE saving money, and even a buck here and there adds up. If I factored in my "salary", I'd be better off working overtime--of course!! But that's not it, I just like knowing I can do some things by myself. Both John and I like to piddle around in the workshop anyway. I bought 5 sq.yds of cheesecloth for $2.50 and the other is 1/3 sq.yd. for $1. I have a sealed metal container to put it in (even spontaneous combustion requires O2). So it will be ok, hey it's not brain surgery (believe me I work with people that do brain surgery and you would NOT want them working in a shop with you) Anyway, thanks again for the musings on both cloth and sloth (see Sonny I can be poetic too :D )

09-15-2001, 10:03 PM
So just buy furniture!...or go to Home Depot and get a base and put one of those lovely Corian plastic tops on it!
I swear...craftsmanship has gone bye bye. Life aint a timeclock!
Using your thinking, why have tools at all? Just buy from someone who knows how.
Granted, $2.00 for some dang rosen impregnated cheesecloth aint no big deal, but why buy if you can make it? If you can't, then don't! I guess I'll buy stir sticks next time I'm at the Big Box becaue I just figured out that it takes me 30 seconds to walk across my shop and get a piece of scrap, then 30 seconds to walk back. Let's see...hmmm...at my shop rate of $30.00 an hour, that comes to a nickel a stir stick!...No, wait...if I had bought them I would have had to walk over to get them anyway...
What we're we talking about? Oh yeah...making stuff. I figure it this way...if I can make it better and cheaper, I do it. If not, I make it anyway cause I probably can't afford to buy it.
(BTW, I'm just poking a little fun at ya :)

09-15-2001, 11:59 PM
Another method is mentioned here, scroll to bottom of page:

Sonny Edmonds
09-16-2001, 12:49 AM
LAST EDITED ON Sep-16-01 AT 00:52AM (CDT)[p]...for his submission:
"How to Make a Tack Rag
A tack rag is one of the best ways to remove dust and grit before applying a finish, to make one soak a cheese cloth in water, wring out the water, soak it in turpentine, wring it out again, drip enough clear varnish on the cheesecloth to make it evenly gummy throughout. Store it in a jar with a lid to keep it from drying out."
From the link Frank provided. :D
Thanks Frank! That disspells and conferms it is a mixture of turpintine and varnish.

Sonny adds:
It must be noted here that turpintine is some NASTY stuff! It is highly irratating to the skin, so gloves should be used while concockting your tack rags.

And Marilyn, I never doughted you could wax poetic as well. Thanks for a shop related post, Darlin! :D :D

"Precision Firewood Specialist"

09-16-2001, 05:55 AM
My question is why did you pay such a high price for the 1/3 sq yd??


Ronnie (Guest)
09-18-2001, 03:08 PM
Woodmangler has a good point! Anyone out there have a good recipe for duct-tape?

Marilyn (Guest)
09-18-2001, 10:22 PM
Where I come from they put people in jail for just takin' stuff...

09-19-2001, 09:38 AM
Sorry to not answer sooner, but some things are coming up around here and I honestly forgot to reply. The book I have at home says to soak the cheesecloth in linseed oil to make a tack cloth. Never tried it, but maybe it is an option.


09-19-2001, 07:16 PM

I just returned from St. Louis, where I visited Rockler's store. Tack rags were 3 for $1. I couldn't pass up that deal. Could I make them cheaper? Possibly, but I get so little time in my shop as it is. I'd rather spend that time making sawdust.

While there, I also picked up a sanding drum kit for 1/2 price and a large bottle of Titebond glue for nearly 1/2 off.

Pastor Paul

Glen (Guest)
09-21-2001, 11:25 AM
Not to mention; Just not being wastefull


09-22-2001, 10:20 AM
When I need a tack cloth, I just wander into the kitchen and steal one of me wife's Scotch-Brite dusting pads.

09-24-2001, 01:04 PM
You know, now that you mention it, those new swiffers are great at getting rid of the dust. No, Vicki, I never did that, I read about, no I heard about it, no I.....


Sawduster (Guest)
09-24-2001, 02:58 PM
Thirty seconds to walk across your shop. Wish I had a shop that large. Course maybe you're old like me and it takes a while to get goin. (:

And on the thought of old age, I 've gotten to the store more than once and forgot one of the two things I set out to get. And forget about trying to remember all of the shop supplies you thought of while you were in the shop. Big blank there, too.

Think I'll just make whatever I need that I can make in a reasonable mount of time.

09-24-2001, 05:29 PM
Is that like the Texan who was bragging to the old Iowa farmer?

The Texan said, "I can get in my truck in the morning and drive all day, and never leave my own land."

The farmer replied, "Yup, I had a truck like that once."

Pastor Paul

09-25-2001, 04:21 PM
I always wondered what was on those tack cloths. seemed to change the color of the wood. Can't help the finishing. I like your formula Sonny. One more reason to get that compressor I have been eyeing.

Lots of hub-bub over tack cloths but, I have to side with the makers over the buyers. At this point in my life I have more time than I do money. Make lots of Jigs in the shop for the shop. It is still a hobby for me now so I figure I can "afford" to do it.


07-05-2012, 06:31 PM
I dust the piece I'm working on with a microfiber cloth first to remove the bulk of the dust. To finish off, I get an old cotton rag and put just a bit of the paint I'm going to use on it to make it sticky. I lightly "dust" with this - if any gets on the piece it's okay since it's the color you're going to use anyways.