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Foolproof Wood Finishing: For Those Who Love to Build and Hate to Finish Paperback – October 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565233034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565233034
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Plenty of books have been published on the art of wood finishing; but what other than Teri Masaschi's Foolproof Wood Finishing For Those Who Love To Build & Hate to Finish, offersa virtual guarantee of success - and acknowledges the reluctance of many woodworkers to attend to finishing? Restorers and finishers know how to get the most out of pieces - or so they think: expert Teri Masaschi here explores all the basics, from determining the best finish for a project to fixing minor defects and understanding common problems and errors. Woodworkers will find it a key to constant, reliable success.

There are sidebar tips in every section, and 'Adventures in Finishing' stories of the author's personal experience with customers as well as finishes. She also includes a gallery of common woods with different finishes listed in steps, as they were applied. There is an appendix of product sources, a glossary of tems and a full index.

Put yourself - not your products - in control of the finishing process by using the practical information provided by the author in this easy-to-follow reference book, illustrated with many excellent color photos. Finishing instructor Teri Masachi has considerable experience building, restoring, conserving and refinishing furniture over nearly four decades. She begins her books with the basics - tools and materials, safety and planning. Next she gives extensive step-by-step directions for making test samples to demonstrate the many wood preparation, coloring and topcoating tasks. She also includes her favorite finishing recipes, a gallery of finely finished furniture and tips for furniture care.

With the popularity of shabby chic and the booming "do-it-yourself" category, there are more crafters and homeowners than ever struggling with the intimidating task of finishing - for fear of ruining that perfect flea market find and hand-crafted piece with a finishing mistake. As one of the most popular finishing instructors at woodworking schools across the country, Teri Masaschi knows all about this - and it's why she's written "Foolproof Wood Finishing: The Complete Guide for Those Who Love to Build and Hate to Finish." (Fox Chapel Publishing, September 2006) Full of color photos and clear instructions, "Foolproof Wood Finishing" keeps it simple -- it's an easy-to-follow guide that simplifies how to choose, use and apply the perfect finish. Offering the ideal antidote to finishing anxiety, the author notes, "Other wood finishing books try to cover the entire subject with all of the "why's" and "what for's." This book is about the process. Period." In step-by-step exercises that reflect the author's approachable and direct style, readers will learn everything they need to know to successfully finish a project: how to determine the best finish, to properly prepare wood with sanding techniques, to fix minor wood defects, to apply decorative techniques such as glazing and color laying, to properly brush on urethanes and varnishes and, most importantly, how avoid common pitfalls. Rounding out the book are the author's favorite "recipes" that outline the products and steps for creating timeless finishes such as Deep Antique Cherry, Nut Brown Mahogany, and more. Also included are amusing anecdotes culled from the author's lifelong experience in the art of finishing. In the end, "Foolproof Wood Finishing" offers the comprehensive instruction and the accessible format that's ideal for the first-timer or hesitant woodworker.

No longer do we have to smuggle in with our holiday luggage those finishes which we could not buy in the UK. Thanks mainly to General Finishes, milk paints, glaze effects, wipe on urethane stains and topcoats etc are now readily available and gaining a following in the UK supported by that woodworking legend Norm. Teri Masaschi, using these products has restored, conserved and refinshed furniture for nearly four decades and for three decades has been a professional finisher. Today, she runs her own business and shares her extensive knowledge with students at woodworking schools throughout the USA. So who better to write a book on these products. The full title of the book is "Foolproof Wood Finishing, for those who love to build and hate to finish," and Teri shows you how to choose, use and apply the perfect finish. The book covers some of the basics of finishing, including tools and materials, and first of the three stages of finishing, i.e. Planning. The step-by-step exercises which make up the majority of the book shows you how to perform the second stage of finishing, i.e. completing your project. Chapters, which are lavishly shown in colour, cover: preparing the surface, filling holes, grain filling, colours, top coats, running out and finally repairing and touching up. There is a list of tools and materials required at the beginning of each exercise. This book is very readable and presented in a straight-forward manner. It also fills a gap in the market place on how to use these readily available finishes which are now becoming popular in the UK. This is very much a "how-to" book and suitable for woodworkers of all abilities. Recommended.

Teri Masaschi is a frequent contributor to woodworking magazines, and her facility with wood finishing comes through in this book. The 7 chapters cover the full gamut of finishing techniques, albeit in a general fashion. The book is written in an easy to read format, amplified with good photographs. There is also a glossary and list of product sources that readers will find useful. I'd recommend it as a first finishing book for novice woodworkers. Like the subtitle implies, it deals with the "how-to's" of finishing without going into the "whys". Once you get to the point of wanting to know more about the underpinnings of finishing you'll want to get Bob Flexner's "Understanding Wood Finishing" (also available from Fox Chapel Publishing). Masaschi's book begins with a brief introduction to the concepts, tools and equipment in finishing. She then shows six pages of photos of finished projects. This is followed by a concise overview of wood preparation (sanding, sealing and pore filling). The next chapter covers colouring (pigments, dyes, blending colours, and glazes). The fifth chapter talks about the most common finishes you are likely to be using - varnish, shellac and lacquer. She also covers brushing, wiping and rubbing out. Chapter six gives eight common finishing recipes for cherry, walnut, oak and mahogany. The book ends with tips and techniques for dealing with those inevitable repairs you need to make.

An ethical conflict is brewing over my review of Teri Masaschi's recent book, Foolproof Wood Finishing. In exchange for writing this, Fine Woodworking is donating the book to my club's library, the Long Island Woodworkers' Club. So what is the conflict? I don't want to give it up. This book belongs on a shelf next to my other essential woodworking texts such as the seminal series Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking and R. Bruce Hoadley's Understanding Wood. This book supplies the information you need for all hand-applied finish and repair circumstances. While there is some information on spraying, the book mainly focuses on hand-applied techniques since the book is aimed at the amateur woodworker. The guide is eloquent and complete. Masaschi gives you the information; all you need to add is patience for the exacting finishing procedures. That's one thing Masaschi can't teach you. Masaschi tackles each technique from the most basic level without talking down to the reader. Every step and formula gets detailed directions with photos. The formatting helps you to follow along. When she refers to a photograph, it's never far away so you avoid the tedious flipping back and forth that you find in some books. After reading the book, I better understand how to fix all sorts of defects, how to prepare surfaces, what finish to use, and why. I also now know how. Different glue size is needed for different woods and topcoats: I can now prepare each one. This is important, since glue size is needed to prevent blotching in various woods, such as pine and cherry. I never knew that different topcoats mandate different sizes. For that matter, I never knew how to prepare or apply it. Oils, urethanes, and shellacs also get the same comprehensive treatment. Every chapter has complete materials lists. Masaschi includes information on different brushes, exact formulas for glue size, fillers, etc. At the back o the book, she also gives a comprehensive spreadsheet listing where she gets the products mentioned, so you are not limited to just one supply house. Overall, Masaschi has written an excellent reference. Since I have now committed this review to writing, I'll have to shelve the book in the club library and buy my own. I'll also award this book the coveted Five Brushes!!

From the Back Cover

GET THAT FINISHING TOUCH! Want to give your wood furniture a great finish, but are afraid to try? Fear no more! In Foolproof Wood Finishing, expert Teri Masaschi shows you how to choose, use, and apply the perfect finish. The woodworker, restorer, finisher, and well-known instructor draws on her years of experience to denystify the finishing process and help you avoid costly and frustrating mistakes. You'll learn step-by-step as you work you way through a series of easy-to-follow finishing exercises. DISCOVER HOW TO: *Determine the best finish for your prohect *Prepare your wood *Fix minor defects *Avoid uneven results *Circumvent common wood-coloring pitfalls More than 20 "recipes" for creating timeless looks, such as Deep Antique Cherry and Nut Brown Mahogany are included. And, you'll get a laugh from the "adventures in Finishing":amusing anecdotes culled from the author's many years of finishing experience. If you've ever wanted to finish wood, this refreshing guide is a must-have for your shelf.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Matt Skuegler on May 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
This would be a very good choice for someone looking for a comprehensive introduction to how to prep, stain, and finish furniture. There is a real wealth of information and it is presented very clearly.

But for all the info on furniture finishing, I was disappointed by the coverage of other basic woodworking projects. For example, there's nothing about what finishes are safe for cutting boards, wooden bowls, or children's toys. And I would have welcomed something that talked specifically about finishes for shop furniture. There also is nothing on spray finishes, which is mildly frustrating given that the author mentions how much more convenient they are than the brush-on and wipe-on finishes she does cover.

I also found the author's style a little distracting. A bit heavy on the exclamation points and the quotation marks and the folksy stories. Not a big deal, really, but it detracted from my enjoyment in reading it somewhat.

It's an outstanding book for a slightly different reader than me. If I had it to do over, I'd get another one instead.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jack Wilson on December 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Don't let the low price fool you. This is very complete book on finishing. Every step is covered from sanding to putting on the top coat. If you purchase only one book on how to finish wood this is the one to own and read. In my view the only thing better than this book is to take one of the authors classes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John J. Hodgson on October 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I recently took a one week finishing course at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine given by the author, Teri Masaschi. This book closely followed the course. The author is very knowledgeable and has a great deal of experience. Neither the book nor the course will make you a Master finisher overnight but it will provide a lot of information and product sources to improve your finishing skills. If you are the kind of person who has difficulty picking up skills from a book alone then I recommend taking a course with the author. She can take you very calmly through the various steps of proper finishing and allay much of the fear and trepidation that many woodworkers have about finishing (aka screwing up a lot of good woodworking at the last step of the creative process). On the other hand, if you are willing to experiment a little with the various techniques on practice boards and find out what works best for you and especially if you are not heavily invested emotionally in the final product( e.g., stripping and refinishing an existing piece of furniture) then this book alone could definitely meet your needs. Just bear in mind that the techniques require some practice and experimentation before committing them to any piece of good furniture and especially not a priceless heirloom. Also, while the methods she recommends will provide a superior result, most of the products are not cheap nor readily available except by mail order. That's not her fault, of course, but you should be prepared to invest both time and money if you want to become really good at finishing furniture. Isn't that just the way life is, though?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rhett Beckman on February 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book that demonstrates various techniques for finishing your work. The processes and photos clearly lay out the steps required. Highly recommended for those who want new ideas for finishing projects.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Rosenstock on February 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book along with Bob Flexner's book saved a 3 month project. If you have never finished a large expensive project before, this is mandatory reading. My first piece was a queen bed, Stickley style, out of cherry. Thanks to them it turned out beautiful.
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By richpw on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great reference book to have in my collection. I have been woodworking for 40 years and learned plenty from this book. Many new things to try.
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