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.
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Smart Cars Need Smart Paint

I’m sure you’re aware of the research being done to produce smart cars and trucks that drive themselves. But it may be more complicated than simply designing the sensors for the vehicles. What if there’s snow on the road? Or if the road markings have been worn off, or if it’s...

Wood Stain is Not Wood Finish

I often come across people who are confused about the difference between a stain and a finish. They’ll use a phrase such as “I want to stain the wood,” or “would you stain the wood for me?” when what they really want is some color added to the wood and a...

Witness Lines: A New Name for an Old Problem

A woodworker asked me recently, “What the heck is a witness line?” Well, this opens up an interesting discussion. One of my pet peeves since I began teaching finishing, has been people creating new terminology when quite adequate terminology already exists. There’s no better example than “witness lines,” which is a...

Disposing of Solvent Waste: How to do it Safely and Legally

Dirty solvent waste can be a problem to get rid of. Even if you use water-based finishes, you’ll probably still accumulate some dirty solvents over time, from cleaning if nothing else. The best solution is to take the waste to a local hazardous-waste collection center, but these are not always conveniently...

How I got Rid of Leaf and Pine Needle Stains on a Deck

You may recall that I have a brother who comes up with some very unusual finish problems. This one’s a beauty. As with many people, my brother has a deck attached to his house. The house is located in the Northwest, and last winter the snow remained on the ground for...

Polyurethane is Almost Always the Best Finish for Wood Floors

We are offering a spectacular collection of products by Bob Flexner at shopwoodworking.com right now. Check it out here, Finishing with Bob Flexner Collection. The two key considerations for choosing a wood floor finish are resistance to scratches and the large surface to be covered. To stand up to abuse, you need...

Spontaneous Combustion & Oil Finishes: Drape Rags Over the Edge of a Trash Can to Avoid a Fire

Drying oils, especially linseed oil (raw or boiled), are the only finishing materials that spontaneously combust. Solvents don’t spontaneously combust, paint strippers (including paint or finish residue) don’t spontaneously combust, and no type of varnish spontaneously combusts. It’s not totally clear whether 100% tung oil can spontaneously combust, so treat it...