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Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select…

Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish… (edition 1998)

by Bob Flexner (Author)

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284162,974 (4.79)None
Introduces wood finishing tools, materials and techniques, and covers oil finishes, stains, shellac, lacquer, varnish and water-based finishes.
Title:Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish (American Woodworker)
Authors:Bob Flexner (Author)
Info:Readers Digest (1998), 320 pages
Collections:Your library

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Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish by Bob Flexner



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I'm very impressed, so much so that I ordered another copy to give to a friend. (It was $3.47 used delivered via AbeBooks.) He & I were discussing some of the points this book makes last week.

I noticed some common issues that Flexner addresses immediately.
- Using old sandpaper. It's not gold & wears out. Trash it, get a new piece.
- Flexner tears a sheet into thirds, then folds each into thirds for hand sanding, although he recommends a sanding block when possible. I do the same, although I quarter the sheets to start.
- Skipping grits. When hand sanding, it's important to clean well in between grits & sand with each grit. Jumping from 80 to 150 costs time.
- Sanding with too fine grits. Flexner says he rarely goes beyond 220, not even that with some woods & finishes because it's just not noticeable. It can even mess up how the wood takes stain.

Then he gets into the best explanation of types & uses of scrapers that I've ever read. Wow! I didn't know anyone else used them any more. I picked up a couple of great sharpening tips from him, too.

I've learned each of these points the hard way, so to see Flexner make all of them so quickly in his book gave me a lot of confidence in it.

The section on stains & finishes is thorough, but it's confusing as hell the first time through just reading. Much better when I went back with a specific question about trying for a specific effect or attributes of a finish. There are excellent color pictures on achievable effects & great info on durability.

The rest of the book is good on specifics of finishing, but beyond what I want to do for the most part. I might look at chapters for specific projects or to dress up an otherwise bland design. Great color plates & explanations in a couple of sections. Very good final chapter on refinishing.

Definitely a keeper & one that anyone who finishes wood on a regular basis should read from cover to cover, even if they're minimalists like me. I learned a lot of what he teaches just by trial & error over decades of doing it myself. In the end, I'm more of a polyurethane guy. I like the look of natural wood & it's one of the best all around finishes. Still, I added some new tricks. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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