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.

Mylands Melamine Lacquer. This is an older label

Finish for Wooden Pens

I got a question about finishes for turned wooden pens. Full disclosure: I’ve never turned a pen. Nor have I turned a bowl. My experience with the lathe has been turning parts for furniture I’m restoring. But I know a bit about finishes, so I think I can answer the question. The pen turner...

Behr Premium Deckover

Deck Coatings that Fail

In the last few years at least three major coatings’ suppliers have introduced deck coatings that have failed often enough so they have generated a number of class-action lawsuits against the companies. You may have seen ads for these products: Behr Deckover, Olympic Rescue-It and Rust-Oleum Deck Restore. You may have even used one...

Microsoft Word - feula healing 37degc ga 220216

More on Smart Coatings

Smart coatings fascinate me. In an earlier post I told you about a paint that uses nanotechnology to cause pee to bounce off walls back onto the shoes of the perp. In another post I told you about a coating that self-heals when exposed to heat or UV light. Here are a few more smart coatings...

Crackle Lacquer

Crackle Lacquer

A friend called me the other day with a question. He was matching a crackle-lacquer finish from the 1980s and wanted to know how this finish is made and how to apply it. Crackle lacquer is lacquer with so much solid material, usually silica, added that there isn’t enough binder (lacquer) remaining to glue...

Here's what a professional spray booth looks like

Spray Booth for a Small Shop

In the December, 2001 issue of Popular Woodworking (issue # 125) I wrote about how to construct a simple but safe home spray booth. This article was reproduced in my book, “Flexner on Finishing.” But what if you have more space, do a lot of finishing and would like to have something more like...

Now, all one company

Update on Sherwin-Williams buying Valspar

In my March 22 posting I passed on the report that Sherwin-Williams is buying Valspar for $11 billion creating one huge supplier of many brands of finishing products we use. But not so fast. Now the Federal Trade Commission is beginning to investigate on antitrust grounds. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, this administration...

Notice in this picture how easy it is to see the developing runs in a reflected light and how difficult it is to see them elsewhere

How to Avoid Runs & Sags

One of the biggest problems woodworkers have is runs and sags drying in their finishes, especially with slower drying finishes such as varnish (including polyurethane and wiping varnish) and water-based finish. They can also happen in shellac, though it dries faster. The remedy is simple. You should never have runs or sags drying in...

Step on can to close it

Step on a Can to Close It

Here’s a tip that you will thank me for if you aren’t already doing it. When you want to secure the lid on a paint, stain or finish can, step on it rather than hammer it closed. Using your body weight to close the can has two advantages. First, you don’t have to have...

The best finish for a cutting board is no finish

Cutting Boards: The Best Finish

A seemingly never-ending question concerns how to finish cutting boards. You don’t need any finish on a cutting board. Water won’t hurt it and no finish will keep water out anyway, after a few knife cuts. Nor will the finish continue to look nice after numerous knife cuts. If the cutting board begins to...