Author Archives: Bob Flexner

Bob Flexner

About Bob Flexner

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.

A Little Straight Talk on Dyes and Fading

The left dye is Transtint metalized dye. The right dye is Lockwood analine dye. Both are water-soluble. I covered the top half of the panel and put it in a west-facing window for six months. You can see that both dyes faded (on the lower areas) but the analine dye faded...

Air Movement and Heat Speed the Drying of Finishes

On Nov. 22 I posted an explanation of how cooler temperatures slow the drying of all finishes. Well, the opposite is also true. Warmer temperatures, especially with the aid of air movement, speed the drying of all finishes. The example of why this information is helpful came in the form of...

Water Spots From Rain: A Lesson Learned

I learned this lesson the hard way. Don’t transport unfinished wood in the open bed of a pick-up truck if there’s any chance of rain. A local cabinet shop had made some oak display stands, and I was hired to finish them. It was sprinkling when I picked up the stands...

Why You Can’t French Polish with Polyurethane

I got a question from a woodworker about French polishing. He wanted to know why he was having so much trouble French polishing with Wipe-on Poly. He had made his pad as instructed, putting a wad of cheesecloth inside a cotton cloth. But the pad was taking off as much finish...

A Short History of How Shellac Became Known as a Sealer

Here’s a short history of shellac, some of it from my own experience. Shellac was almost the only finish used on furniture from the 1820s to the 1920s when nitrocellulose lacquer was introduced. Shellac continued to be used widely as a complete finish by painters working in buildings until the 1950s....

Turbine Solution: Use a Remote Control

There are two sources of air to power a spray gun: a compressor and a turbine. Compressors are much less irritating; simply plug them in or turn them on and leave them. The motor will come on only when the amount of air in the tank gets low (after you have...