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.

Fish Eye & Silicone – or, the Problem with Furniture Polish

In my last posting on May 2, I mentioned that furniture polishes containing silicone have a bad reputation. Nevertheless, they are very popular with consumers. I thought I should go into a little more explanation for this seeming contradiction, and also address some of the questions I got. Back in the...

Caring for Crazed Finishes

Here’s a problem you’re probably familiar with if you have old furniture or woodwork: finishes that are crazed. Old crazed finishes are very fragile. They damage easily. The best thing you can do to reduce damage is apply a slick furniture polish or paste wax. Slick furniture polishes are those that...

Speaking of Consolidation: PPG Seeks to Purchase AkzoNobel

In my last post I explained how Valspar wood coatings may remain “independent” of Sherwin-Williams’ attempt at consolidation for a while. But there’s a much bigger consolidation being attempted by PPG. It’s trying to buy AkzoNobel. PPG is headquartered in Pittsburgh and owns paint and finish brands including Olympic, Glidden, Sico,...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...