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.

Get a Perfect Finish Every Time

There’s probably no phrase in finishing that irritates me more than this one: Get a perfect finish every time. It’s commonly used by editors and publishers to title articles, sub-title books, and in general to promote information they want you to look at. You rarely see this type of phrase in reference to woodworking:...

Measure twice, paint once!

I’m sure you’ve heard the admonition to measure twice before you cut once. If you haven’t, take it from me that it’s very good advice. You’ll save a lot of wood and grief by doing this. But what about “measure twice before you paint once?” The grounds crews at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium where the...

Hide Glue (2): How it’s Made

The largest, and I think only, hide-glue factory left in the United States is Milligan & Higgins, located in Johnstown, New York, west of Albany, off Interstate 90. You can buy hide glue directly from the company in 50-pound or larger quantities. For smaller quantities, resellers include Woodworker’s Supply, Tools for Working Wood, Merit...

Will Paste Wax Damage a Finish?

A reader thought he remembered my cautioning against applying paste wax over water-based finish or latex paint. His memory was that I had said that paste wax could damage these coatings. This is not true, of course. There’s no problem applying most paste waxes over water-based finish or latex paint. But the source of...

How to Predict that a Wood will Blotch

A common question is: “How can I know if the wood I’m using is going to blotch when I apply a stain or finish?” This question comes up most often when finishing cherry, which has become a very popular wood. The solution is actually rather simple. Anytime you wet wood, you create the same...

Aerosol Finishing Products

It took me a long time to realize the full value of finishing products in aerosol cans. Not only can you finish an entire object with these aerosols, especially if the object isn’t large, you can also use them as an easy barrier coat when the finish you’re brushing has the chance of lifting...

Smart Coatings: On Land and Sea

Picture a military vehicle such as the tank shown. To help disguise it, it is painted with colors that blend in with the surrounding landscape. Problem is, the vehicle might move to a different landscape during battle, leaving it more exposed. So researchers in Australia have come up with a coating that changes colors...

Hide Glue Part 1: Overview and Introduction

You can’t really talk about repairing antique furniture without explaining hide glue because it was the glue used on almost all furniture made before the 1950s. So, with this post I’m introducing what I hope will be a series of posts in the coming months on hide glue. I’ve written about hide glue many...

Caution When Buying a Spray Gun

I was teaching a hands-on finishing class, including spraying, a while back when a student brought me a spray gun he had bought a year before from another teacher who was selling a line of spray guns. The spray gun wasn’t working right and he couldn’t figure out why. We fixed the problems, but...