Great Wood Finishes: A Step-By-Step Guide to Consistent and Beautiful Results

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by: Jeff Jewitt

Topics include: preraise the grain, pale dewaxed, concentrated pigment colors, accentuate surface texture, precatalyzed lacquer, highest grit, brown dye stain, apply more finish, reactive finishes, synthetic steel wool, thinned finish, golden nylon, padding shellac, rub out the finish, right before application, residual finish, paste wood fillers, dewaxed shellac, initial grit, dull sandpaper, wipe off the glaze, amber dye, soluble dye stain, different color stain, last grit

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Book Description Finishing wood surfaces can be tricky and time-consuming, and all that effort and time may not yield the beautiful product envisioned at the start. Great Wood Finishes is written by an expert in the field to help the occasional finisher/refinisher or hobbyist woodworker avoid that problem. The book uses simple instructions and a wealth of illustrations to make the process easy and rewarding. Great Wood Finishes begins with a thorough discussion of tools and materials. It moves on to instructions and photo essays covering every technique, including staining, glazing, and rubbing out. The final section, primarily photos and captions, covers specialty finishes that can easily be created by combining the techniques presented earlier in the book.

First Sentence: "The process of applying a finish has been described at various times as a secret art, a complicated science, and, by those who do a lot of it, downright frustrating."


Fantastic Finishing from Start to... Well... You know...Here's another invaluable reference for anyone wanting to apply a professional-quality finish. Jeff is a fountain of information, and this book is the foundation for one of the best finishing resources available. He is one of the few authors I know who not only produce excellent written resources, but are available for one-on-one consultations at his web site. I love Bob Flexner's finishing book as well, and the difference between the two is hard to pin down, but overall, I'd say that Jeff's focuses a LITTLE more on technique. In my opinion, he explains spraying equipment, brushes, etc. in a little more detail than Flexner... Flexner focuses a little more on the actual chemical composition of finishes. Jewitt wins out on the photographic quality of the book. There are lots of excellent illustrations that will give you tips on the materials, techniques, and equipment used. He shows everything from how to make a spray booth to how to hold a brush. Both of these books are an excellent resource, but with Jewitt's book in hand, you can call him on the phone and get recommendations straight from the horses mouth... and if you want, he'll even sell you the finishing materials. Super guy, super book, super resource... all around, an excellent investment. 5-stars!

An excellent guide for the intermediate to advanced finisher: Jeff spends some time covering the basics of materials and equipment then gets right into the application. Especially helpful are use of professional-grade products such as dyes, glazes and toning. He shows you how to make your own for a lot of the material. The book is profusely illustrated with color plates, close ups and step-by-step photos of procedures. It makes it easy to see the difference between alternatives. There are also a number of charts that cover various materials properties, and problems and their solutions. Line drawings are used to show detail of surfaces and results. The book wraps up with a chapter on specialty finishing techniques - for example, liming, distressing, arts & crafts, filled-pore, and ebonizing. This book is well worth it for the finisher or woodworker that wants to break out of the Danish Oil & Polyurethane routine. I agree with Dennis Schmidt's review in that it, along with Bob Flexner's classic, in the two must-have finishing books for any serious finisher. It's a high quality book consistent with Tauton Press's reputation.

Good but not great: This book contains a lot of useful information and it will no doubt improve my finishing skills, but for a 234 page book focused exclusively on finishes, I guess my expectations were higher. I have a couple of broadly focused woodworking books that have almost as much information on quality finishing. In my opinion, the book could be improved by reducing the number of redundant photos and increasing the amount of textual information. The book is filled with very high quality photos but how many photos do you need of someone brushing, wiping or spraying a stain or finish on a piece of wood? I was hoping for more textual information matching fillers, sealers and finishes to various types of wood, e.g., hardwoods vs. softwoods vs burlwoods. A few of the most popular woods are partially covered in this way, but not many. Still, I would recommend this book, particularly for someone looking for a broad overview of the various options and techniques required to achieve a high quality finish.

Just what you want to know: I owned a high end body shop for twenty years. Did a lot of European cars, and the finished products, all to often, wound up under strong showroom lights. Factory approved finishing and repair for BMW, Benz etc. With specific application techniques, and finally exhaustive rubbing, a finish was produced that would far exceed factory specs. It was necessary to tone it down unless you were doing an overall. Why am I saying all of this? Well mainly this: If someone asked me about refinishing I could get very specific about techniques. What to do, what not to do, and the tips and tricks to take it over the top. It is all to often the technique that would separate the mind blowing finish from the mundane. Of course the proper material had a lot to do with it, but if I had to choose just one, it would be technique. Now that woodworking is a part of my life, trying to apply 20 years of automotive knowledge to woodworking, is almost a waste of time. In automotive, you build up a thick layer of finish, that is often catalyzed for quick drying, then the next day cut it with wet and dry paper, and polish it with lambs wool bonnets. Unfortunately that doesn't have a thing to do with wood finishing. I have been on a quest for the past couple of years to find a book on wood finishing that would give me the kind of knowledge that I understood with automotive. After all of my searching, I finally found it, and Great Wood Finishes: A Step-By-Step Guide to Consistent and Beautiful Results by Jeff Jewitt is it. You couldn't gain the experience given in this book without spending a lot of years acquiring it. The only obstacle to acquiring a lifetime of finishing knowledge is our willingness to open our minds and accept it. They say their is two ways to learn: Either go through the school of hard knocks, or listen to someone who has gone through the school of hard knocks. Not only does this book show you how, their is a knack applied, by the author of explaining the relevant aspects of what you want to know. Their is no way I want to spend the kind of time and resources that would be necessary, in order to learn the lessons explained in this book. I guess you could say that Jeff Jewitt is more than an deeply experienced wood refinisher, he is an excellent teacher as well. He explains the different finishing techniques, each of the different materials, and even the unique problems you acquire in finishing different species of wood. The book gives you full color photographs, for example, of a piece of cherry, which is divided into different sections, displaying the different shades as a result of different coloring techniques. I am glad that I bought the other books on refinishing wood, but this book is the one that I feel the most akin to. The author tells you the pitfalls to avoid, and is still very much in touch with the reasons why he does what he does. He doesn't just say this is the way you do it period. He explains quite often the reason why. Overall I highly recommend this book. Nothing really negative to say about it. It's a great one.

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