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Thread: Understanding finish's

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    New Springfield OH

    Understanding finish's

    Ok selecting and applying finish can be a lot like the black arts. Lets face it the manufactures aren't always much help.

    Well that doesn't have to be. Like a lot of you guys I've been pretty much hit and miss. Due to ease of use I've been spraying a lot of Pre cat lacquer. It works great on small thing, fairly well on cabinet work. Isn't worth a hoot for small furniture though. It scratches way to easy

    Well I got a new book on finishing for Christmas. It's called
    Understanding Wood Finishing By Bob Flexner. (ISBN 9780762106219) Now usually I can't stand to read these type of books. Usually because they beat around the bush to much and I get information overload.

    He gets right to the point, One of the things I like about it is it is divided into sections, Basically Preparation, types of finishes. and application. Even though he does a thorough job, theres not a whole lot of wasted words.

    A couple of interesting tidbits I've learned so far.
    All of these companies really don't "manufacture" their finish.
    They actually buy all the ingredients from a couple of chemical companies then mix their own concoction.
    Look at like a loaf of bread. Your basic loaf of bread has
    Flour, yeast, Water, sugar, salt. But depending on what brand your ingredients are will change the taste of the bread.

    ever used Tung oil finish? it may have been more wiping varnish than tung oil

    I can't begin to relate 1/10 of this information to you.
    I highly recommend you get a copy and read it. I haven't finished it yet but it has really opened up my eyes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks Robert.. I for one really need to work on my knowledge of finishes .. I will search this book out.

    Master creator of precision sawdust and slivers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Bob is one of the few who understand the black arts and can convey them to the layman.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I've got that book, and my only complaint is that I've not spent enough time to read the whole thing. It is very informative indeed.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    New Springfield OH
    I bet I have a half dozen books on finishing. This is the only one I've been able to read. I keep it in the library

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Indianapolis area
    I also have liked:

    Great Wood Finishes by Jeff Jewitt
    The New Wood Finishing Book by Michael Dresdner.

    I do think that Flexner's book is the easiest to understand.


    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Abbotsford, BC Canada
    Like Ron, I've also read through all three of the mentioned books on finishing.

    I think Jeff Jewitt and Bob Flexner are really the guru's of wood finishing with Michael Dresdner close behind. Jeff Jewitt and Michael Dresdner have good websites as well, worth a read though (also a good place to buy good quality finishes too). Jeff Jewitt's website, Michael Dresdner's website

    If you can't afford to buy the books, or just don't want to what I've done is gone to my local library and borrowed each of the three books and flip through them about 3 times a year.

    There really is so many good ways to finish our projects. Not one is perfect for every project of course. It can be so overwhelming picking the right finish and the right way of applying it, rubbing out and fixing if need be.

    These books really are a great place to start. Robert, whoever got you the book now deserves something you've made with a nice finish on it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Oklahoma City, OK

    It's my Finishing Bible

    It's by far the best book on finishes I know of. I like it because Bob goes to great lengths to address the "why" behink the "how.
    Cut to Print, grind to fit, paint to match

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Thanks Robert for the tip. I will do my usual and check it out at the library then buy later.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    I have Flexner's boo, and agree with the stellar reviews.

    Another good one is "Wood Finishing Fixes " by Michael Dresdner. This one is like one great big Q+A book. It's pretty thin. It's not really a browsing book, IMHO, but a good reference when you want to look it up. (and it's only $7 at Book closeouts (Rob, you live close enough to St.Catharines -- Book Closeouts main store is there -- that you should get on their email list and maybe drop by when passing through. I really love the after christmas half-off-everything sale. I've picked up quite a few WWing books there.)
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

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