Author Archives: Bob Flexner

Bob Flexner

About Bob Flexner

Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and the author of woodworking finishing books, including “Flexner on Finishing,” “Understanding Wood Finishing” and “Wood Finishing 101,” available at ShopWoodworking.com. Also available are his DVDs on "Repairing Furniture" and “Refinishing Furniture.” Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.

‘Water-white’ – What That Means in Finishing

You may have come across the term “water-white” for describing finishes. It’s a little confusing. It means a finish that is totally devoid of amber coloring in liquid form. The finish looks like water in the can. It doesn’t look white. In practice, the term is used to describe a type of lacquer, and...

stripper

Alternative Paint Strippers

by Bob Flexner Safer strippers are having a ‘green’ revival. Methods for removing old paint and finish from furniture have gone through at least four distinct periods. Before solvents became widely available, coatings were removed by scraping, often with glass used like we use scrapers, and sometimes by sanding, after sandpaper became available. (Heat...

Use a ‘Nail Board’ to Speed Finishing Work

Here’s a finishing trick you may not be familiar with. You can brush or spray both sides of flat panels and cabinet doors without having to wait for one side to dry by using a nail board – except I used drywall screws instead of nails. These screws have very tiny pointed tips that...

Hide Glue – Preparing the Grains or Pearls

Most hide glue is sold as a solid in granular or pearl form. To prepare hide glue for use, estimate how much solid glue you can use up in a few days to a week or more (it’s myth that you need to throw out the glue at the end of each day), and...

Finishing in Colder Temperatures

We’re well into winter now, and you may have noticed that your finishes seem thicker. Thicker finishes are more likely to orange peel or leave brush marks. You can deal with this by adding thinner, but this will reduce the build of each coat. It’s better to be sure your finishes are warm before...

Stir the Finish – Unless it’s Gloss

I have a confession to make. No one knows I did this, at least no one who speaks English, not even my wife. But you are about to know it. In 1974 my wife (who is Danish) and I moved to Denmark to try to live there. Things were not good in the United...

Finish for Maloof-style chair

I got a call from a fellow who made a Sam Maloof-style chair and screwed up the finish using Maloof’s formula. I thought, how can you screw up a Maloof finish? Maloof combined three products – polyurethane, linseed oil and tung oil – to give him the look he liked on his chairs. Then...

Traditional Danish Workbench

I was thrilled to see the article by Bill Rainford in the current issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine in which he gives directions for making a traditional Danish workbench. It’s been a long time (more than three decades) since Tage Frid provided these directions, and lots of new people have taken up woodworking in...

Screwing up the Finish Won’t Ruin Your Project

I say this often. I’ve written it many times. Maybe I get the insight from the many years I’ve spent refinishing furniture. No matter how good or how careful you are, stuff still happens, and you have to strip off what you’ve done and start over. Every professional or semi-professional refinisher knows this because...