finishing

You can thin all you want

You Can Add All the Thinner You Want

You often see cans of solvent finishes, including lacquer, and alkyd and polyurethane varnish, with instructions not to thin them. Manufacturers include these instructions in order to comply with VOC laws in some areas of the country, such as California. Adding thinner could take the finish out of compliance with the local or state...

To remove the residue NMP wipe several times with an alcohol dampened cloth

Remove Residue NMP From The Wood

The paint-and-varnish removers commonly available in stores are gradually shifting from those available in metal cans to those available in plastic containers. The ones in plastic aren’t as strong or fast acting as those in cans, which are methylene chloride and various lacquer-thinner solvents. Just the packaging, plastic vs. metal, tells you this. The...

1_Lay down some finish in the middle of an intended stroke

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...

Before and After Images

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...

Dane & me polishing_3

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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Shellac Tiger Flakes from Tools for Working Wood

by Christopher Schwarz page 16 Because shellac is my favorite finish, I have tried nearly every brand of flakes on the market. By far, my favorite brand is the premium dewaxed flakes – Tiger Flakes – sold by Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, N.Y. Because there are no lac bugs in Brooklyn, this...

beeswax block

In Search of the Perfect Wax Finish

My four-decade-long desire to identify, understand, replicate and develop new analogs to historic furniture-making materials has led me on some interesting quests and situations. Included in these would be learning a lot about tropical insects whose “sweat” is the foundation for the most amazing finish ever (shellac); studies of sausage casings, artificial skin and...