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

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For more than 18 years, Bob Flexner has been inspiring woodworkers with his writings and teachings on wood finishing. Now, from this best-selling author comes the long-awaited and completely updated second edition of UNDERSTANDING WOOD FINISHING-the most practical, comprehensive book on finishing ever published.

The first edition of UNDERSTANDING WOOD FINISHING has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is widely regarded as the bible of wood finishing. "We use UNDERSTANDING WOOD FINISHING as the textbook for our students training to go into the furniture industry," says David Miles, wood technology professor at Pittsburg State University. "It's the best written, most accurate, and most thorough wood finishing book in print-by far."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Given the abundance of titles on wood finishing published in 1993, librarians might be inclined to dismiss this one, which would be a definite mistake. Flexner, who has 20 years of finishing experience and has written for many woodworking magazines, assumes no experience in finishing wood. He provides comprehensive treatment of the various finishes, application techniques, chemical cautions, and reactions, convincingly overthrowing much of the conventional wisdom about finishing. His book gives readers a wood finishing consultant available whenever they need it for the price of an hour's time. Highly recommended. Index not seen.-- Alex Hartmann, Bloomsburg Univ. Lib., Pa.
Library Journal
With the proper finish, a piece of junk can be transformed into showcase furniture. In this update to the 1998 second edition, professional woodworker and restorer Flexner (Applying Finishes: Techniques, Tips, and Problem-Solving Tricks) shows readers how to pull off that transformation. He clearly understands the predicament of the home woodworker, who faces a bewildering array of wood finishing products, tools, and techniques, so he goes into great detail about how to finish anything properly. Products and supplies are identified, and the various tips offered are pertinent and insightful, including comments on finishing antique furniture. Featuring high-quality photos and illustrations, this is the bible of wood finishing; other books pale in comparison. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565235489
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/15/2010
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Pages: 308
  • Sales rank: 159,963
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Before beginning his writing and teaching career, Bob Flexner spent 20 years running a woodworking and restoration shop. In addition to writing the first edition of Understanding Wood Finishing, Bob has made two award-winning videos, hosted The Furniture Workshop, his own call-in radio show, and taught several hundred workshops and seminars. In addition, he has written more than 300 articles and edited the leading magazine dedicated to the professional furniture-restoration trade.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Why Finish Wood, Anyway?

Chapter 2: Preparing the Wood Surface

Chapter 3: Tools for Applying Finishes

Chapter 4: Staining Wood

Chapter 5: Oil Finishes

Chapter 6: Wax Finishes

Chapter 7: Filling the Pores

Chapter 8: Introduction to Film Finishes

Chapter 9: Shellac

Chapter 10: Lacquer

Chapter 11: Varnish

Chapter 12: Two-Part Finishes

Chapter 13: Water-Based Finishes

Chapter 14: Choosing a Finish

Chapter 15: Advanced Coloring Techniques

Chapter 16: Finishing the Finish

Chapter 17: Finishing Different Woods

Chapter 18: Caring for the Finish

Chapter 19: Repairing Finishes

Chapter 20: Exterior Finishes

Chapter 21: Removing Finishes


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