Article Index Bob Flexner

Colonial Apprenticeship

A brief history of a not-so-romantic woodworking education system. by Bob Flexner pages 62-63 Ever since the renewal of interest in woodworking in the 1970s, especially among amateurs and small-shop professionals, there has been talk of reestablishing an apprenticeship program similar to what existed hundreds of years ago. But what was that apprenticeship system...

paint strippers solvent strippers

Flexner on Finishing: The EPA & Paint Strippers

Is this government agency overreaching the bounds of its evidence? by Bob Flexner pages 62-63 This article is an opinion piece on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulation on the paint strippers we have available; I think the government agency is going too far. If you wish to learn more about the differences...

Changing VOC Laws

Air quality initiatives affect coatings availability in different areas. by Bob Flexner pgs. 62-63 Four years ago in this column I explained how VOC regulations are putting restrictions on large users of finishing products and causing changes to formulations affecting all users. I concluded that only the large users are directly affected by the...

Explaining Polymerized Oil

Simple in theory, not in the real world. by Bob Flexner pgs. 62-63 A reader of my blog (at popularwoodworking.com) asked me to explain what polymerized oil is. So here goes. On one level the explanation is incredibly simple and on another it’s representative of all that makes finishing and finishes so hard to...

Flexner on Finishing: White Water Rings

Understanding causes and remedies of this typically shallow damage. by Bob Flexner pgs. 62-63 A friend sent me a web link to a video and short text recommending the use of mayonnaise to remove white water rings on tabletops thinking that I would scoff at this remedy. I didn’t. I’ve actually seen mayonnaise work...

Flexner on Finishing: My ‘Half-right Rule’

Knowing which half to believe is why finishing seems so difficult. by Bob Flexner pages 62-63 Many years ago I coined what I call my “half-right rule.” That is, half of what you read or hear about finishing is right; you just don’t know which half. You may suspect that I developed this rule...

sanding sealers

Flexner on Finishing: Sealers – What Are They?

An explanation of this most confusing of finishing treatments. by Bob Flexner pages 52-53 In the late 1980s, I hosted a local call-in radio show dealing with finishing and restoration. I remember one caller explaining that he had applied four coats of tung oil; he asked what he should use to seal the wood!...

strain water based lacquer

Flexner on Finishing: Water-based Finish isn’t Lacquer

The two products – both useful – are quite different. by Bob Flexner pages 50-52 Dating back at least 100 years, the term “lacquer” has referred to a non-crosslinking finish that thins with lacquer thinner. The most common type is nitrocellulose lacquer. In the late 1980s water-based (or waterborne) finishes became available and some...

Flexner on Finishing: My Sanding Block

Efficient, cheap and simple to make. by Bob Flexner pages 60-62 This magazine puts a lot of emphasis on hand tools – that is, tools without motors. Common subjects include handplanes, chisels, scrapers etc. But when it comes to sanding, it seems that most people use random-orbit sanders. These have motors! Why not sand...