Bob Flexner

Bleaching the Color Out of Wood

Sometimes you want to make wood lighter than it is in its raw state. This is common when trying to match the wood to something that already exists. The way to do it is to first bleach out the color of the wood, then apply a stain, if necessary, to achieve the match. You...

Oil/Varnish Blend Mythology

Every now and then someone comes into my shop, and in the course of conversation volunteers to me that his (it’s always a him) family had a secret formula for a finish that had been passed down for generations. Of course he wasn’t going to share it with me because then it wouldn’t be...

Six Myths About Wood Finishing

The time and cost of materials you invest in any woodworking project can make the final finishing stage a nerve-racking one. You want to get it right, and there are a lot of wild ideas out there concerning finishing. Below you’ll find a few common wood finishing myths and the actual facts excerpted from Bob...

Teak Oil: What is it?

In the February, 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I wrote an article on teak oil. If you’re interested in a more extensive explanation than here, I encourage you to go back to that issue and read the article. I titled the article “Teak Oil: The Oil That Doesn’t Exist,” because there’s no such...

Adhesive paint: Another Smart Coating

This has nothing to do with wood finishing, but I find it interesting anyway. You’re probably aware that Google is working on self-driving cars. Well, the company has filed a patent for an adhesive paint to be used on these and other cars that will help reduce injuries to pedestrians hit by these cars....

Making Curly Maple Pop

To maximize the beauty of curly maple (also bird’s-eye maple), you want the curls to “pop” – that is, be significantly darker than the rest of the wood. To do this you need to get more color into the curls. To some extent this happens naturally with any stain when you wipe off the...

Wash off NMP Residue

Here’s a caution when stripping paint or finish from furniture or woodwork. Most of the newer “safer” strippers are sold in plastic containers and contain the solvent n-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) as the active ingredient. This solvent is relatively expensive, so manufacturers often mix in other solvents to reduce the cost. But it’s the NMP...

Finish Choices for a Wood Deck

It’s that time of year and you may be thinking about how to take care of your wood deck. Here’s the easy way to approach it, at least for decks made of rot-resistant woods such as redwood, cedar, pressure-treated, or one of several jungle woods including ipe. If you’re OK with the wood turning...

Removing a Black Scrape on a Car

While visiting my son and daughter-in-law, I noticed that she had a pretty ugly black scrape on the side of her car. She had gotten it when she backed out of a tight parking space and rubbed up against the plastic back bumper on a truck. I decided to win points by removing it....