Bob Flexner

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Brush End-to-End

When brushing a large surface such as a tabletop, you want each brush stroke to go from one end to the other with the grain. If the brush can’t hold enough finish to go the entire distance, brush several partial strokes, then connect them with a long end-to-end stroke. Lay the bristles down just...

Second story oak floor wet mopped for many years

Water Warps Wood Opposite from What You May Think

Water causes wood to swell, so most people think that wetting one side and not the other will cause the wetted side to bow – that is, increase in width so the center is higher than the edges. If the wood is thin enough, this will be the case initially. But the overall swelling...

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Brown Paper Bag Trick

A smooth feel is critical when judging the quality of a finish. It’s natural for people to run their hand over a finish, feel dust nibs and say, “This is not a great finish.” The problem is, there’s almost always a little dust that has settled on, and stuck to, the last coat of...

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Regular Paint vs. Pee-Back Paint

In my introductory blog post, I mentioned that there are a lot of fascinating advances being made in the coatings industry. This one may top the list. Most of us guys have done it, and maybe even some gals (but it’s different). We’ve come out of a bar or club late at night and...

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Bob Flexner, Now Blogging

About six years ago, Megan Fitzpatrick, the editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, asked me to join the group of editors blogging on the magazine website. I don’t remember why I turned her down. Maybe I was just really busy. Anyway, the possibility came up again recently and I jumped at the chance. I have...

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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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The Trouble with VOC-compliant Finishes

When it comes to finish, I want something that is easy to apply, offers a little protection and doesn’t require spray equipment. And once I find a finish I like, I tend to be pretty loyal. I used Minwax’s Antique Oil Finish almost exclusively before a friend turned me on to Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish...

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Flexner on Finishing: ‘Green’ Solvents

These environmentally friendly products are surprisingly effective. By Bob Flexner Pages: 60-62 From the February 2012 issue #195 Buy the issue now. The three primary solvents we use in wood finishing are paint thinner (mineral spirits), lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol. Paint thinner thins and cleans up oils, oil stains and varnishes, including oil-based polyurethane. Lacquer thinner thins...