Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Sel...

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Take the mystery out of wood finishing! Inside you will find:

  • The latest technical updates on materials and techniques—from spray guns to French polishing
  • Detailed instructions and explanations that take the mystery out of the science
  • More than 300 color photos that help you distinguish between products, make decisions, and solve problems
  • More than 40 must-have reference tables and troubleshooting guides

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 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.”

With its clear writing and engaging style, this is “without a doubt the best researched, most authoritative, and easy-to-follow book on the subject,” notes Steve Shanesy, Popular Woodworking magazine editor.

As professional finishers know and as amateurs will surely realize, “finishing is easy once you know what you are doing,” says Frank Klausz, a professional cabinetmaker. “Understanding Wood Finishing makes the science of finishing understandable.”


From the Publisher

Learn how best to apply the perfect finish to each of your woodworking projects

Master the Craft of Wood Finishing

Learn everything you need to know about finishing wood with chapters dedicated to:

Preparing the wood surface

Tools for applying finishes

Staining wood

Oil & wax finishes

Filling the pores

Shellac, lacquer, & varnish

Two-part finishes

Water-based finishes

How to choose a finish

Advanced coloring techniques

Care & repair

How to remove a finish

Understanding Wood Finishing

How to Select and Apply the Right Finish

This is the most practical, comprehensive book on finishing ever published, and is widely regarded as the bible of wood finishing.

Take the mystery out of finishing wood as author Bob Flexner walks you through applying every kind of finish from beginning to end.

The latest technical updates on materials and techniques—from spray guns to French polishing

Detailed instructions and explanations that take the mystery out of the science

More than 300 color photos that help you distinguish between products, make decisions, and solve problems

More than 40 must-have reference tables and troubleshooting guides

Clear writing and engaging style

Easy to follow, well-researched, and authoritative

Take the mystery out of the science of finishing wood

More Than 300 Color Photos

Inside, find hundreds of clear photos of various finishes, products, steps, results, comparisons, and even common mistakes to help you choose products, make decisions, and solve problems.

Solutions to Finishing Problems

Learn causes and find solutions to problems often encountered throughout the finishing process, from bubbles in a brush finish to shellac and lacquer blushing, with more than 40 must-have reference tables and troubleshooting guides.

How to Apply a Finish from A to Z

From preparing the wood surface to filling the pores to finishing for different types of wood—even care, repair, exterior and removal are covered—Understanding Wood Finishing will keep you informed and confident at every step of the process.

Preparation & Tools

Author Bob Flexner helps you get started with tips for selecting your lumber, sanding, dewhiskering, and dealing with dents, gouges and holes. Then make your own rubbing pad, choose brushes, spray guns, and equipment, and learn the common pitfalls and solutions for using these tools.

Stains, Oils & Wax Finishes

With clear language and detailed explanations, Bob Flexner will help you understand stains, bleaching, ebonizing, aniline dyes, color matching, washcoats, and common staining problems. Explore oil finishes, dispel the myths about linseed oil, understand oil finish penetration, bleeding oil finishes, and maintenance & repair. Learn how to make your own paste wax and about wax’s compatibility with other finishes.

Film Finishes: Shellac, Lacquer, Varnish, Two-Part, & Water-Based

Learn all about the five types of film finishes that cure hard so they can be built up to any thickness you want. You’ll learn how they cure, how to control sheen, how to apply each type of film finish, its pros and cons, and how to approach common mistakes in the application of each type of finish.

Advanced Coloring, Care & Repair

Take the decoration of wood beyond simple staining and pore filling to the advanced steps of adding color within a finish. Learn glazing, antiquing, toning, and pickling, plus how to “finish” your finish for the best quality. Caring for your finished wood, repairing damage, and removing finishes with stripping solvents is all covered in this comprehensive guide.

Preparation & Tools

Stains, Oil, & Wax

Shellac, Lacquer, & Varnish

Finishing the Finish

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