Which Finishing Book

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Forum topic by fladdy posted 12-10-2010 07:58 PM 1272 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 3008 days

12-10-2010 07:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

Just posting a general question to all LJ’s on here. Which finishing book do you have or would you like to have? And why? Is it comprehensive, does it have good tips, techniques, does it answer most of your questions….

-- Fladdy

6 replies so far

View barryvabeach's profile


159 posts in 3038 days

#1 posted 12-11-2010 04:02 AM

Nothing better than Flexner UNDERSTANDING WOOD FINISHING, Revised on finishing as a good bible. Buy it, you will read it often, and consult it from time to time. Doubt you will ever outgrow it. There are other books that go into a more entry level intro into diff finishing techniques, but nothing beats Flexner on the overall approach If you also want a follow the steps – FWW has published a few books containing articles on diff finishes such as THE BEST OF FINE WOODWORKING: FINISHES AND FINISHING TECHNIQUES or ESSENTIALS OF WOODWORKING: FINISHES AND FINISHING TECHNIQUES , they won’t cover the waterfront, but if it covers a technique you want to use it will give you some great pointers. Jeff Jewitt also has some books – again, I don’t think they are as comprehensive – but if all you want to learn about is hand applied finishes, he has a book on that, and if all you want is spray finishing, he has a book on that. Michael Dresdner also has a couple of books that deal with finishing. I can’t say anything about their prices or services, but I went to this site to get the full titles

View gko's profile


83 posts in 3239 days

#2 posted 12-11-2010 12:15 PM

I also have to agree with Barry that Flexner’s Understanding Wood Finishing is the best book out there. One chapter is dedicated to how each type of finish cures and his drawings explained why certain puzzling things were happening with each finish I tried. Chapters on each type of finishes include strengths and weaknesses, how to apply, problems with pictures, explanations and solutions. I saw so many of the problems that have happened to me in the past and there were so many “aha” moments when I read the book. Explained differences, strengths and weaknesses of types of stains (dye and pigment) which was invaluable in deciding on which stain to use in different situations. He goes after finish companies for mislabeling and problems they are creating. There is a chapter on how he got certain looks on different woods and the steps he took to do it. You can tell Flexner is OCD about his work and I say that with the highest compliment.

After reading it you feel great confidence in what you are doing. When I get to the finishing part of a project, that book is with me at all times. Finishes doesn’t feel like I’m walking in a dark room any more.

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

View ChrisForthofer's profile


150 posts in 3062 days

#3 posted 12-11-2010 03:01 PM

+3 on Flexner as well. They just released a revised eddition that came out in november of this year. I bought mine on presale and got it on the second run after they sold out the first. WELL worth the money and although I havent used it in depth as of yet the comments above are apparent just thumbing through it. I believe it is used as a text in most woodworking schools if that gives you an indication of how well its regarded.


-- -Director of slipshod craftsmanship and attention deficit woodworking

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3153 days

#4 posted 12-11-2010 06:51 PM

Make that +4 on the Flexner. Does a great job of debunking myths and showing the chemistry behind everything, yet does so in an easy to understand matter. He also has a writing style that’s direct and unashamedly confident in what he says. I found myself reading the whole text just to find out what opinions he has…it goes beyond a simple survey of the finishes and techniques that you’d find in typical books.

Flexner is a teacher of this stuff…and it shows in his writing.

Any of the Jewitt texts are good as well and the aforementioned Dredsner text is good, but if you are going to pick one book on finishing, the Flexner book is the best.

-- jay,

View Scott's profile


153 posts in 2967 days

#5 posted 12-11-2010 08:28 PM

+5 on Flexner. It is the bible on finishing.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#6 posted 12-11-2010 08:39 PM

I own Both of Bob Flexners books their both good but I prefer Charles Neils” finishing A-Z beyond the books and it’s all about color” DVDs and if you must have a book Charles is coming out with his own book soon.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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