Bob Flexner

Measure twice, paint once!

I’m sure you’ve heard the admonition to measure twice before you cut once. If you haven’t, take it from me that it’s very good advice. You’ll save a lot of wood and grief by doing this. But what about “measure twice before you paint once?” The grounds crews at Montreal’s Olympic...

Books on Repairing Furniture

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had good woodworking skills 40 years ago when I started doing furniture restoration, including furniture repair. But repairing furniture is different than making it. So how did I learn good repair skills? I learned them from a number of excellent books, which showed...

You Read it Here First: Pee Back Paint

In my first blog post I told you about a new smart-coating technology that causes liquids, including pee, to bounce off surfaces. In the case of pee, it bounces back onto the perpetrator, so it’s used to discourage people (men) from peeing on walls in public places. The example I used...

Hyper-slick Coating

So I’m sitting at dinner trying to get the last of the ketchup out of the bottle pictured here when I noticed that almost none of the ketchup was left stuck to the inside of the container. The plastic was almost perfectly clean. Then I remembered reading about the new technology...

Stripping with Only Solvent

With shellac and lacquer finishes, which are the finishes used on almost all old furniture and woodwork, you can use their solvent for stripping instead of a paint-and-varnish remover. Depending on the object being stripped, I often find this method easier in the sense of spending less total time. It’s also...

Sanding Through Veneer

You may be aware that I’m not a big advocate of random orbit sanders. I prefer to sand by hand most of the time. I think it’s faster, and it’s for sure safer, especially on veneer. If you’re gluing down the veneer yourself (maybe using a vacuum press), the veneer you’re...

Goof Off has Changed

When you roll latex paint onto walls and ceilings, some of the paint comes off the roller as spatter and lands on, and sticks to, furniture and other objects. All of us “old timers” know that if you want to remove this spatter without harming the finish, you get some Goof...

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...

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...