Interesting Woodworking Link

Friday, August 15, 2008

Episode #68 - Finishing . . . Take Your Time!

A review of Finishing From A to Z: Beyond The Books from Woodworking with Charles Neil

It wasn’t long ago that Popular Woodworking Editor Glen Huey mused that the finishing phase of a project can take as long as the design and building phases. In fact, this phase of a project’s execution is so important that Neil Lamens from Furnitology Productions recommends starting to experiment with the proposed finish schedule concurrent with initial milling. He advises in his Furnitology 101 DVD and on his popular woodworking blog that scrap material culled during the milling process is perfect for fine-tuning the finish schedule. This is sage advice that will pay dividends when your project is sitting on your bench ready for the finish room and you've already worked the bugs out of your finish schedule.

“While finishing already takes nearly as much time as building the project, why would you want to add another step to the process?”

- Glen D. Huey, Senior Editor
Glazing for the Ages (pp. 30-31)

Woodworking Magazine • Spring 2008

My standard practice is to mill up a batch of 3 x 5 x 1/2 blocks during the initial milling process. These blocks get their backs labeled with masking tape allowing me to record the steps of the finishing schedule including experimental deviations. During my last project, I used 6 blocks of solid wood and 4 cherry and maple veneered panels to work out finishing details the subtle nuances of my finish schedule.

Every woodworker’s library has at least a volume or two on finishing. It is a complex subject with a huge number of subtle variables. It has been said that a poor finish job can quickly ruin an otherwise well executed project. My son just had a very valuable resource added to his woodworking library. Charles Neil kindly gifted Matthew his 10 DVD set Finishing From A to Z: Beyond The Books. Charles has a keen interest in teaching kids the craft of woodworking. Matt has had the pleasure of interacting with Charles several times. Once to share his experiences with his Boy Scout Woodworking Merit Badge and again when Charles sent Matt a chunk of the Stonewall Jackson Prayer Tree after finding out that Matt is a Civil War history buff. Needless to say Matt was quite excited when this package arrived in the mail!

Matt was kind enough to let his Dad review Finishing From A to Z: Beyond The Books during a recent vacation to California. I spent some down time in the car watching the series on my laptop computer. Anyone who has visited Charles’ website, watched his videos on or Fine Woodworking’s GlueTube, or enjoyed one of his woodworking DVDs knows that he has a gift for teaching. He has a unique ability to take the mystery out of woodworking bringing confidence to woodworkers of very level. Part of Charles’ charm is his calming Southern accent coupled with years of experience.

I was absolutely fascinated with Finishing From A to Z: Beyond The Books. It basically is like spending private one-on-one shop time with Charles while he explains the intricacies of wood finishing . . . clearly an experience Beyond The Books! Like most adults, I learn best by watching and doing followed by the reinforcement of reading. This DVD set is the perfect bridge between “doing” in the shop and sitting in a chair reading. This 10 DVD set has over 13 hours of quality instruction covering everything from hand applied finishes to spray finishes, water based materials to solvent based materials, spray equipment, coloring, toning and special techniques.

My recommendation is to have a pad of paper and a pen close by to make notes! There is so much information contained in these 10 DVDs that you will have to watch them more than once. After watching the series from beginning to end, you can then focus on areas of particular interest.

So, if the depth of your finishing skills is a basic “to go to oil finish” and you’ve decided that you want to expand your finishing horizons, then head over to Charles’ website and order Finishing From A to Z: Beyond The Books for your shop library. It is a purchase you won’t regret!

Finishing From A to Z: Beyond The Books DVD Titles

  • 1 Building to Finish – Sanding & Smoothing
  • 2 Preparing to Color – Repairing Defects
  • 3 Coloring Woods – Dyes & Stains
  • 4 Controlling Color
  • 5 Advanced Coloring Techniques
  • 6 Spray Guns & Turbines
  • 7 Spray Techniques
  • 8 Spraying Top Coats
  • 9 Hand Applied Finishes
  • 10 Special Finishing Techniques


Vic Hubbard said...

Wow David!
You really hit the ground runnin'!

Great post...and congrats on the shout out from Tommy and Al..I'll have to catch up on the Rough Cut show. I fell way behind during the Crazy Leg Table.

David Pruett said...

Vic -

As always, thanks for stopping by! I have a hard time keeping up with The Rough Cut Show as well . . . they are doing some awesome stuff. I think they are on the cutting edge regards "the internet classroom". My son and I are going to start a step stool project from TRCS.