Bob Flexner

Here's what a professional spray booth looks like

Spray Booth for a Small Shop

In the December, 2001 issue of Popular Woodworking (issue # 125) I wrote about how to construct a simple but safe home spray booth. This article was reproduced in my book, “Flexner on Finishing.” But what if you have more space, do a lot of finishing and would like to have something more like...

Now, all one company

Update on Sherwin-Williams buying Valspar

In my March 22 posting I passed on the report that Sherwin-Williams is buying Valspar for $11 billion creating one huge supplier of many brands of finishing products we use. But not so fast. Now the Federal Trade Commission is beginning to investigate on antitrust grounds. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, this administration...

Notice in this picture how easy it is to see the developing runs in a reflected light and how difficult it is to see them elsewhere

How to Avoid Runs & Sags

One of the biggest problems woodworkers have is runs and sags drying in their finishes, especially with slower drying finishes such as varnish (including polyurethane and wiping varnish) and water-based finish. They can also happen in shellac, though it dries faster. The remedy is simple. You should never have runs or sags drying in...

Step on can to close it

Step on a Can to Close It

Here’s a tip that you will thank me for if you aren’t already doing it. When you want to secure the lid on a paint, stain or finish can, step on it rather than hammer it closed. Using your body weight to close the can has two advantages. First, you don’t have to have...

The best finish for a cutting board is no finish

Cutting Boards: The Best Finish

A seemingly never-ending question concerns how to finish cutting boards. You don’t need any finish on a cutting board. Water won’t hurt it and no finish will keep water out anyway, after a few knife cuts. Nor will the finish continue to look nice after numerous knife cuts. If the cutting board begins to...

These are the three Zinsser Bulls Eye shellacs that no longer provide a date of packaging or a stated shelf life

User-Unfriendly Zinsser Bulls Eye Shellac

I went to Lowe’s a week ago to buy some shellac and was reminded that Zinsser, the maker of Bulls Eye Amber, Clear and SealCoat brands, no longer provides the date of manufacture so users can calculate whether or not the shellac will dry properly. And now the company has stopped telling users even...

Boiled linseed oil and tung oil

Comparing Linseed Oil & Tung Oil

The two commonly available pure oil finishes that can be used on furniture and woodwork with decent results because they cure – that is, turn from a liquid to a soft solid – are linseed oil and tung oil. There are important differences between these two oils. Raw linseed oil cures much too slowly...

solvnets

Using Solvents to Date Furniture

Editors note: Bob Flexner’s blog will move to the Flexner on Finishing Blog at the end of April. You can find it here. A few years ago I was called to a long-time client’s house to look at a problem on their newly purchased eighteenth-century Chippendale dining set. I was excited. How often do I...

Try cleaning first, with water, soap and water or mineral spirits.

Rejuvenating Old Finishes

Editors note: Bob Flexner’s blog will move to the Flexner on Finishing Blog at the end of April. You can find it here. Just because a finish is old and deteriorated, you don’t necessarily have to strip it and apply a new finish. You may be able to rejuvenate the finish so it looks...