ok ok so I searched the forum *after* posting, and the answer was easier than I thought...
Simply make a self join to the table I want to export. So I now have "contacts" and a self joined "contactsforexport"
As I sit and look at "contacts" I can have a small found set.
When I want to export I jump to the "contactsforexport" layout, find all, export.
Then jump back to "contacts" and my found set remains intact!
piece of cake :-)
hope this helps someone else