Article Index Bob Flexner

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!...

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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...

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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...

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Flexner on Finishing: Understanding Wood Finishing

Here are four things you need to know. by Bob Flexner p.54 Finishing is not hard to understand. As I’ve pointed out in previous articles, it’s made confusing by manufacturers who don’t understand their own products, so they make up names and claims they think will help sell their wares. The manufacturers who are...

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Furniture Restoration

Learn how to repair typical damage. by Bob Flexner page 46 Thirty-five years ago, I traded $125 worth of work for the mid-19th-century Empire chest-of-drawers pictured here. You could argue that I paid too much, because the amount of work involved in restoring it was considerable, but it was an impulse trade and I...

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The Solution to Finish Problems?

All sorts of damage can occur to a finish. I’ve written about the most common problems and how to fix them many times. Four of the articles I wrote for Popular Woodworking are included in my book, “Flexner on Finishing” (Popular Woodworking). These articles deal with problems such as water rings, rubs and scrapes,...

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Why is Finishing So Difficult?

Misleading claims and directions may be due to manufacturer ignorance. by Bob Flexner page 62 In the previous issue (#216) I wrote about teak oils and how none have anything to do with teak wood. Reading the article, you may have asked yourself why companies would put out products that aren’t what they say...

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Teak Oil: The Oil That Doesn’t Exist

‘Teak oil’ is whatever a manufacturer chooses to put in the container. by Bob Flexner page 38 No wood finish illustrates better than “teak oil” why finishing is so confusing. Brands vary from mineral oil, to linseed oil, to tung oil, to oil/varnish blend, to wiping varnish, to simply wax and turpentine. Many brands...

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Flexner on Finishing: Catalyzed Finishes

Apply a professional, quick-drying and durable finish at home. by Bob Flexner page 58 You may have heard of catalyzed finishes: pre-catalyzed lacquer, post-catalyzed lacquer and catalyzed or “conversion” varnish. These finishes are commonly used in industry and in cabinet and professional refinishing shops. But there’s no reason you can’t use them also. The...