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.

The old Goof Off with xylene (left) and the new Goof Off with acetone

Goof Off has Changed

When you roll latex paint onto walls and ceilings, some of the paint comes off the roller as spatter and lands on, and sticks to, furniture and other objects. All of us “old timers” know that if you want to remove this spatter without harming the finish, you get some Goof Off and rub...

Bleached Walnut

Bleaching the Color Out of Wood

Sometimes you want to make wood lighter than it is in its raw state. This is common when trying to match the wood to something that already exists. The way to do it is to first bleach out the color of the wood, then apply a stain, if necessary, to achieve the match. You...

Brands of oil:varnish blend

Oil/Varnish Blend Mythology

Every now and then someone comes into my shop, and in the course of conversation volunteers to me that his (it’s always a him) family had a secret formula for a finish that had been passed down for generations. Of course he wasn’t going to share it with me because then it wouldn’t be...

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Six Myths About Wood Finishing

The time and cost of materials you invest in any woodworking project can make the final finishing stage a nerve-racking one. You want to get it right, and there are a lot of wild ideas out there concerning finishing. Below you’ll find a few common wood finishing myths and the actual facts excerpted from Bob...

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IWF (International Woodworking Fair)

If you are a serious woodworker (even if you aren’t that good yet), and you’re looking for an unbelievable woodworking experience, let me suggest that you consider attending the International Woodworking Fair this summer in Atlanta. Words can’t adequately describe it. It’s HUUUUUGE – more than 1,000 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees. The only way you...

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Teak Oil: What is it?

In the February, 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I wrote an article on teak oil. If you’re interested in a more extensive explanation than here, I encourage you to go back to that issue and read the article. I titled the article “Teak Oil: The Oil That Doesn’t Exist,” because there’s no such...

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Adhesive paint: Another Smart Coating

This has nothing to do with wood finishing, but I find it interesting anyway. You’re probably aware that Google is working on self-driving cars. Well, the company has filed a patent for an adhesive paint to be used on these and other cars that will help reduce injuries to pedestrians hit by these cars....

This curly maple tall-case clock was made and finished by a friend of mine

Making Curly Maple Pop

To maximize the beauty of curly maple (also bird’s-eye maple), you want the curls to “pop” – that is, be significantly darker than the rest of the wood. To do this you need to get more color into the curls. To some extent this happens naturally with any stain when you wipe off the...

Wash off NMP residue with denatured alcohol

Wash off NMP Residue

Here’s a caution when stripping paint or finish from furniture or woodwork. Most of the newer “safer” strippers are sold in plastic containers and contain the solvent n-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) as the active ingredient. This solvent is relatively expensive, so manufacturers often mix in other solvents to reduce the cost. But it’s the NMP...