Flexner on Finishing Blog


Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and the author of woodworking finishing books, including “Flexner on Finishing,” “Understanding Wood Finishing,” and “Wood Finishing 101,” available at ShopWoodworking.com. Also available are his DVDs on “Repairing Furniture” and “Refinishing Furniture.” Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.

He’ll also be writing here about furniture restoration – another of his areas of expertise.
Follow on RSS here. Flexner on Finishing Blog RSS Feed

How to Remove Crayon and Candle Wax

Want to be a hero with friends and relatives? Here are two tricks that are surprisingly little known but are worth a lot to your reputation: how to remove crayon and candle wax. Crayons are made of wax, of course, and wax dissolves in turpentine, mineral spirits (paint thinner) and naphtha. None of these...

Why There Are Streaks in Your Wood Stain

I’ve run into this problem often enough that I thought it worth discussion: People apply a stain and don’t have enough time to get the excess wiped off before the stain dries. The results are streaks that are difficult to remove. It used to be that all stains carried by home centers and paint stores were...

Sears & Craftsman tools

You may know that Sears is in big trouble; the brand may not survive. It’s closing stores fairly rapidly and in January sold the iconic Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker. I have some history with Craftsman tools and some thoughts about what has happened, so I thought I’d share them. Back...

Lacquer is Easy to Clean from a Spray Gun

Lacquer is such a wonderful and versatile finish. I think every professional I’ve talked to who has used lacquer and other finishes (with good exhaust, of course) loves lacquer. There are lots of reasons for this, including reduced runs and sags, relative ease of control in different weather conditions with the solvents available, relative ease...

Rubbing Out a Finish: The Plastic Spreader Trick

Rubbing out a finish to achieve a perfectly flat surface on porous woods such as mahogany and walnut is a lot of work, so it’s usually reserved for tabletops. Using a film-building finish (not oil), the first step is to sand the finish back, or level it, to leave the pores filled in. You...

Oil & Varnish: A Refresher

If you go back to the early issues of U.S. woodworking magazines in the 1970s and ’80s and read about oil finishes, you’ll come away confused. The more you read the more confused you’ll become. I know this because I was there. The claims and explanations were all over the map. More often than...

Brands of Dye Stain Differ

For my column in the current issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, April, 2017 (#231), I wrote about how brands of water-soluble dye stains sold to the woodworking community differ. One of the differences is the degree to which they can be redissolved and lightened by wiping over with a wet cloth. My point was...

‘Water-white’ – What That Means in Finishing

You may have come across the term “water-white” for describing finishes. It’s a little confusing. It means a finish that is totally devoid of amber coloring in liquid form. The finish looks like water in the can. It doesn’t look white. In practice, the term is used to describe a type of lacquer, and...