Article Index Flexner on Finishing

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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...

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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...

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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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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...

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Flexner on Finishing: Furniture Deterioration

Cracking, crazing and physical wear have specific causes and remedies. by Bob Flexner pages 59-60 Everyone who buys, sells, works on or collects old furniture, or who has some in their house, has to be concerned with deterioration. It’s staring them in the face every time they look at the furniture. Totally stopping the...

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Matching Colors

Use the method that allows you to keep trying until you get it right. by Bob Flexner pages 60, 62 One of the most challenging tasks in wood finishing is matching the color of an existing object, color swatch or photo in a magazine. Most people try to accomplish this with just a stain,...