Foolproof Wood Finishing: For Those Who Love to Build and Hate to Finish


Take the mystery out of finishing and avoid costly mistakes with easy-to-follow exercises designed by woodworking's premier finishing instructor. Also includes 20 recipies for classic looks and amusing "adventures in finishing" anecdotes.
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Take the mystery out of finishing and avoid costly mistakes with easy-to-follow exercises designed by woodworking's premier finishing instructor. Also includes 20 recipies for classic looks and amusing "adventures in finishing" anecdotes.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Plenty of books have been published on the art of wood finishing; but what other than Teri Masaschi's Foolproof Wood Finishing For Those Who Love To Build & Hate to Finish, offersa virtual guarantee of success - and acknowledges the reluctance of many woodworkers to attend to finishing? Restorers and finishers know how to get the most out of pieces - or so they think: expert Teri Masaschi here explores all the basics, from determining the best finish for a project to fixing minor defects and understanding common problems and errors. Woodworkers will find it a key to constant, reliable success.

There are sidebar tips in every section, and 'Adventures in Finishing' stories of the author's personal experience with customers as well as finishes. She also includes a gallery of common woods with different finishes listed in steps, as they were applied. There is an appendix of product sources, a glossary of tems and a full index.

Put yourself - not your products - in control of the finishing process by using the practical information provided by the author in this easy-to-follow reference book, illustrated with many excellent color photos.
Finishing instructor Teri Masachi has considerable experience building, restoring, conserving and refinishing furniture over nearly four decades. She begins her books with the basics - tools and materials, safety and planning. Next she gives extensive step-by-step directions for making test samples to demonstrate the many wood preparation, coloring and topcoating tasks. She also includes her favorite finishing recipes, a gallery of finely finished furniture and tips for furniture care.

Teri Masaschi is a frequent contributor to woodworking magazines, and her facility with wood finishing comes through in this book.

The 7 chapters cover the full gamut of finishing techniques, albeit in a general fashion. The book is written in an easy to read format, amplified with good photographs. There is also a glossary and list of product sources that readers will find useful.

I'd recommend it as a first finishing book for novice woodworkers. Like the subtitle implies, it deals with the "how-to's" of finishing without going into the "whys". Once you get to the point of wanting to know more about the underpinnings of finishing you'll want to get Bob Flexner's "Understanding Wood Finishing" (also available from Fox Chapel Publishing).

Masaschi's book begins with a brief introduction to the concepts, tools and equipment in finishing. She then shows six pages of photos of finished projects. This is followed by a concise overview of wood preparation (sanding, sealing and pore filling). The next chapter covers colouring (pigments, dyes, blending colours, and glazes). The fifth chapter talks about the most common finishes you are likely to be using - varnish, shellac and lacquer. She also covers brushing, wiping and rubbing out. Chapter six gives eight common finishing recipes for cherry, walnut, oak and mahogany. The book ends with tips and techniques for dealing with those inevitable repairs you need to make.

An ethical conflict is brewing over my review of Teri Masaschi's recent book, Foolproof Wood Finishing. In exchange for writing this, Fine Woodworking is donating the book to my club's library, the Long Island Woodworkers' Club.

So what is the conflict? I don't want to give it up. This book belongs on a shelf next to my other essential woodworking texts such as the seminal series Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking and R. Bruce Hoadley's Understanding Wood.

This book supplies the information you need for all hand-applied finish and repair circumstances. While there is some information on spraying, the book mainly focuses on hand-applied techniques since the book is aimed at the amateur woodworker. The guide is eloquent and complete. Masaschi gives you the information; all you need to add is patience for the exacting finishing procedures. That's one thing Masaschi can't teach you.

Masaschi tackles each technique from the most basic level without talking down to the reader. Every step and formula gets detailed directions with photos. The formatting helps you to follow along. When she refers to a photograph, it's never far away so you avoid the tedious flipping back and forth that you find in some books.

After reading the book, I better understand how to fix all sorts of defects, how to prepare surfaces, what finish to use, and why. I also now know how.

Different glue size is needed for different woods and topcoats: I can now prepare each one. This is important, since glue size is needed to prevent blotching in various woods, such as pine and cherry. I never knew that different topcoats mandate different sizes. For that matter, I never knew how to prepare or apply it. Oils, urethanes, and shellacs also get the same comprehensive treatment.

Every chapter has complete materials lists. Masaschi includes information on different brushes, exact formulas for glue size, fillers, etc. At the back o the book, she also gives a comprehensive spreadsheet listing where she gets the products mentioned, so you are not limited to just one supply house.

Overall, Masaschi has written an excellent reference. Since I have now committed this review to writing, I'll have to shelve the book in the club library and buy my own. I'll also award this book the coveted Five Brushes!!

No longer do we have to smuggle in with our holiday luggage those finishes which we could not buy in the UK. Thanks mainly to General Finishes, milk paints, glaze effects, wipe on urethane stains and topcoats etc are now readily available and gaining a following in the UK supported by that woodworking legend Norm.

Teri Masaschi, using these products has restored, conserved and refinshed furniture for nearly four decades and for three decades has been a professional finisher. Today, she runs her own business and shares her extensive knowledge with students at woodworking schools throughout the USA. So who better to write a book on these products.

The full title of the book is "Foolproof Wood Finishing, for those who love to build and hate to finish," and Teri shows you how to choose, use and apply the perfect finish. The book covers some of the basics of finishing, including tools and materials, and first of the three stages of finishing, i.e. Planning.

The step-by-step exercises which make up the majority of the book shows you how to perform the second stage of finishing, i.e. completing your project.

Chapters, which are lavishly shown in colour, cover: preparing the surface, filling holes, grain filling, colours, top coats, running out and finally repairing and touching up.

There is a list of tools and materials required at the beginning of each exercise.

This book is very readable and presented in a straight-forward manner. It also fills a gap in the market place on how to use these readily available finishes which are now becoming popular in the UK.

This is very much a "how-to" book and suitable for woodworkers of all abilities. Recommended.

With the popularity of shabby chic and the booming "do-it-yourself" category, there are more crafters and homeowners than ever struggling with the intimidating task of finishing - for fear of ruining that perfect flea market find and hand-crafted piece with a finishing mistake. As one of the most popular finishing instructors at woodworking schools across the country, Teri Masaschi knows all about this - and it's why she's written "Foolproof Wood Finishing: The Complete Guide for Those Who Love to Build and Hate to Finish." (Fox Chapel Publishing, September 2006)

Full of color photos and clear instructions, "Foolproof Wood Finishing" keeps it simple -- it's an easy-to-follow guide that simplifies how to choose, use and apply the perfect finish. Offering the ideal antidote to finishing anxiety, the author notes, "Other wood finishing books try to cover the entire subject with all of the "why's" and "what for's." This book is about the process. Period."

In step-by-step exercises that reflect the author's approachable and direct style, readers will learn everything they need to know to successfully finish a project: how to determine the best finish, to properly prepare wood with sanding techniques, to fix minor wood defects, to apply decorative techniques such as glazing and color laying, to properly brush on urethanes and varnishes and, most importantly, how avoid common pitfalls.

Rounding out the book are the author's favorite "recipes" that outline the products and steps for creating timeless finishes such as Deep Antique Cherry, Nut Brown Mahogany, and more.

Also included are amusing anecdotes culled from the author's lifelong experience in the art of finishing. In the end, "Foolproof Wood Finishing" offers the comprehensive instruction and the accessible format that's ideal for the first-timer or hesitant woodworker.

Canadian Woodworker
Teri Massaschi is a frequent contributor to woodworking magazines, and her facility with wood finishing comes through in this book.
Yandle's Wood Club Newsletter UK
Very readable and presented in a straightforward manner. It also fills a gap in the market place on how to use these readily available finishes which are now becoming popular in the UK.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565233034
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Teri Masaschi is one of woodworking's premier finishing instructors. She teaches finishing techniques at woodworking schools around the United States, including the prestigious Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, and Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colo. A frequent contributor to national woodworking magazines, Teri has nearly four decades experience as a professional finisher/refinisher, including her years as product manager at Woodworker’s Supply Inc.

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Table of Contents

Introduction viii
Chapter 1:Getting Started 3

Chapter 2:A Gallery of Finely Finished Furniture 17

Chapter 3: Preparing the Wood 25
Smoothing the surface 26
Making Your First Step Sample 40
Controlling Stain Absorption 42
Filling the Grain 48

Chapter 4: Coloring Wood 57
Pigment stains 58
Dye Stains 66
Mixing wood colorants from concentrates 72
Primary colors:the fun stuff! 78
Glazing and color layering 84

Chapter 5: Topcoating 91
Brush-on topcoats 92
Wipe-on topcoats 102
Painting Wood 110
Rubbing out finishes 120

Chapter 6: Finishing recipes 131
Frequently used recipes 132
A Gallery of glorious woods and colors 150

Chapter 7: Repair and Restoration 163
Repairing and touching up 164
Care of furniture: myths and malarkey! 174
Restoration and conservation 180

Appendix: Product Sources 188
Glossary 190
Index 191

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