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The other day I watched an old episode of "The Woodsmith Shop" that was all about finishing and they said something that surprised/interested me. They were discussing removing the fine dust from your final sanding prior to finishing, and they recommended using mineral spirits to wipe the piece down before beginning to do any finish treatments like stain, oil etc. The logic was that mineral spirits do not cause the grain to raise like water does. It seemed odd to me because in my limited experience and voracious reading I've always gathered that anytime the wood gets wet the grain will raise, so it seems counterintiuitive to me that you would intentionally take something wet like mineral spirits to your piece after final sanding. Anyone have any experience with this or any advice on it it?

Thanks,
Craig
 

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That's a commonly accepted (and superior, IMHO) way to get the dust off. To me, the biggest advantage is that you get a preview of what the wood will look like with a finish....and that includes spotting blemishes like glue spots, etc., before you actually apply any finish. I keep a spray bottle of MS on hand just for this. I've read elsewhere that your assumption that anything wet does indeed raise the grain. But if that happens with petroleum based solvents I've never noticed it. In any case, raised grain is easy to deal with. Put your first coat of finish on before you try to sand the whiskers off. The finish locks them in place, sand it smooth and proceed with additional coats.
 

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That really is an accepted practice. It will raise the grain a little but so little I don't think you could notice it. I've never tried it though. To me its a waste of paint thinner. I just blow the dust off with compressed air and either use my hand or a soft bench brush to clear sanding dust.
 

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Most use mineral spirits to both remove and residual sanding dust AFTER THOROUGHLY vacuuming or brushing off the dust. If you don't thoroughly remove the dust with a vacuum, the mineral spirits might combine with the dust and end up filling in the grain on certain woods. You will not be able to completely remove that dried dust.

Another benefit to wiping the surface with mineral spirits is that it will preview the color of the wood as it will look if you apply a clear oil based finish. Also, it will highlight any surface defects, glue blobs or sanding miscues allowing you fix them before applying your top coats.

Some will use denatured alcohol or naphtha instead of mineral spirits. MS takes a while to fully evaporate after application and you must allow it to fully evaporate or you might get some problems with your finish. The alcohol and naphtha will evaporate much quicker allowing you to get back to work faster.
 
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