Flexner on Finishing Blog


Bob Flexner is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking and the author of woodworking finishing books, including “Flexner on Finishing,” “Understanding Wood Finishing,” and “Wood Finishing 101,” available at ShopWoodworking.com. Also available are his DVDs on “Repairing Furniture” and “Refinishing Furniture.” Bob is probably best known for defining the products used in wood finishing and organizing them into categories that make them easily understandable.

He’ll also be writing here about furniture restoration – another of his areas of expertise.
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Peeling Paint on Exterior Doors

A reader had a problem with the paint on his front doors, which he thought might be caused by exposure to strong sunlight for many hours each day. Fortunately, he sent pictures, which told me a different story. From the pictures, it seemed more likely that the damage was caused by moisture. UV sunlight...

Update on Finish Company Consolidations

I’ve reported previously on Sherwin-Williams buying Valspar and PPG’s attempt to buy AkzoNobel, which would combine the two largest coatings suppliers in the world. To complete the purchase of Valspar by Sherwin-Williams, Valspar was required to spin off its wood coatings division to Axalta, which it did. (I had never heard of Axalta before,...

Paste Wax – Make it Harder & Glossier

The first big investigation I ever did for an article in a woodworking magazine was on paste waxes. I collected 13 different brands and tried to figure out the differences. I also read as much as I could find on wax. This was all brought back to me when I got into the long...

Paste Wax for Table Saws & Machinery

In my recent postings, I’ve been writing about silicone oil and fish eye. So a few days ago I was having a deep discussion with a friend about paste wax, and it reminded me of the time I was in a friend’s shop and noticed him spraying Pledge on the top of his table...

Even More on Silicone Oil & a Finishing Lesson

I’ve told you the three main ways to deal with silicone contamination in my May 10 post: clean the wood well with solvent or an alkali soap before applying the finish; seal the wood with shellac; and/or add silicone oil (fish-eye flow out, fish-eye eliminator, Smoothie) to the finish. There’s a fourth way I...

More on Silicone Oil

Silicone contamination causing fish eye doesn’t only come from consumers using silicone-containing furniture polishes on their furniture as I’ve been discussing in my last two posts. It can also come from hand and body lotions and from overspray if you use an aerosol polish in your shop to make the furniture you’ve just finished...

Fish Eye & Silicone – or, the Problem with Furniture Polish

In my last posting on May 2, I mentioned that furniture polishes containing silicone have a bad reputation. Nevertheless, they are very popular with consumers. I thought I should go into a little more explanation for this seeming contradiction, and also address some of the questions I got. Back in the 1970s, when I...

Caring for Crazed Finishes

Here’s a problem you’re probably familiar with if you have old furniture or woodwork: finishes that are crazed. Old crazed finishes are very fragile. They damage easily. The best thing you can do to reduce damage is apply a slick furniture polish or paste wax. Slick furniture polishes are those that contain silicone oil....

Speaking of Consolidation: PPG Seeks to Purchase AkzoNobel

In my last post I explained how Valspar wood coatings may remain “independent” of Sherwin-Williams’ attempt at consolidation for a while. But there’s a much bigger consolidation being attempted by PPG. It’s trying to buy AkzoNobel. PPG is headquartered in Pittsburgh and owns paint and finish brands including Olympic, Glidden, Sico, Dulux and its...