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Jeff Jewitt has written four Taunton Press books on finishing, including Hand Applied Finishes, Great Wood Finishes and The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing. He has appeared in two award-winning finishing videos. Jewitt runs a finishing and wood finishing supply business (Homestead Finishing Products) in Cleveland, Ohio.
In addition to running a full-time finishing supply company, Homestead Finishing Products, Jeff finds time to re-finish, write and teach. He has written extensively for FINE WOODWORKING Magazine for over 14 years and has written articles on finishing for other magazines and Professional Journals. He has developed finishing products which are sold all over the world under the "Homestead" name and is the author of 5 books: HAND APPLIED FINISHES, GREAT WOOD FINISHES, THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO FINISHING (Taunton Press), FURNITURE REPAIR AND REFINISHING (Handyman Club of America) and SPRAY FINISHING MADE SIMPLE, as well as 3 videos: COLORING WOOD, APPLYING TOPCOATS and SPRAY FINISHING MADE SIMPLE (Taunton Press).
I've written 5 books about my passion for woodfinishing and refinishing. Below are some personal comments about each book.
"Hand Applied Finishes" 1997. My first book and written in response to my first generation of students. The first book you write is always the hardest because you never know if it's the only one you'll write. This book was targeted towards the myriad of amateurs, novices and home warriors who dread finishing. Covers the "classic and traditional" techniques like brushing varnish, French Polishing and will introduce you to some intermediate techniques like glazing and using dye stains. The best part was doing the video which is now avaialable as a DVD. It doesn't appear on this page but you can search "all departments" on amazon with the keyword "Hand Applied Finishes DVD".
"Great Wood Finishes" 2000. My second book and Randy O'Rourke did the photography. Randy has done photography for everyone from Martha Stewart to "Houses on the Water" and is one of the best woodworking photographers in the field. This book covers 14 popular finishes from start to finish, and was the design impetus by the Taunton Press to utilize this concept. What followed was their "Complete Illustrated Series" with authors covering everything from tablesaws to routers. My best selling book and uses some of the basics covered in Hand Applied Finishes and expands on them. Covers both spraying and hand application techniques.
"Furniture Repair and Refinishing" 2001. The only book I've ever written on refinishing and repair techniques. You'll have to get this by joining the Handyman Club of America or using the re-sellers listed on amazon.com. Don't tell anyone but I actually consider myself a much better repair/refinisher than a straight finishing guy.
"The Complete Illustrated Guide to Finishing" 2004. This book took 2 full years of my life to write. It's everything I know about finishing and in one sense was what I wanted to write for the first book but couldn't because the subject had to narrowed somewhat. I was given complete freedom to write all that I knew. My wife Susan assisted by doing all the photos. If I'm asked "Which one of your books should I buy? (assuming you ignore my response - "all of them") this is the one book to get. In fact this book along with the DVD, "Hand Applied Finishes" makes a nice set for anyone. At this point I had a better technical grasp on the chemistry of finishes as I was well into my current career as a finish and stain formulator for the business I own today, Homestead Finishing Products.
"Spray Finishing Made Simple" 2010. My latest book and one I've wanted to do for the past 5 years. I probably would have published this myself if Taunton hadn't generously offered the idea. Bottom line - if you are thinking of spraying a finish, or have a spray gun, get this book. It's a downright steal for under 20.00 for a 125 page book and 50 minute DVD. Great step by step action covers everything from spraying stains and sealers to clear lacquers and latex paint. As the troubleshooter for my business, I know all the in's and out's of the problems you'll get into spraying. Plenty of advice on solving problems and cleaning/maintaining your spray equipment.
This DVD and book rank way up on the list of my many books on finishing.
Personally, I wouldn't consider it a reference for finishing. However, an excellent source for those who have simply never sprayed before or who like me, don't spray the same material day to day and need a quick refresher course from time to time.
The book and the DVD go into just enough detail on gun types and spray systems(turbine/compressor), how to thin and spray, as well as the general N/N (needle/nozzle) setups for each of the 5 likely products a woodworker would run into; solvent, waterborne, dyes, stains and enamels (paint).
The book goes into how to set up and construct a temporary spray booth for both solvent and waterborne.
Clean up, safety and environmental concerns are not an over thought but shown in a responsible yet reasonable manner.
The DVD is well thought out and scripted with decent sound, NOT too dull, matching the book in content and shows the basic techniques for spraying. I did think the author could have mentioned one problem that I had...matching your fluid delivery with the speed in which you spray. Though I guess Jeff demonstrates proper speed in the DVD by example.
It should be noted that conventional spray guns and pots, as well as exploiting the benefits of different solvents are not covered. Both are advanced topics that the amateur probably doesn't run into anyhow.
To be totally critical I do have an issue with the title. As most "made easy" books fall into two categories "Made easy if you have a ton of money/skill etc" or "Made easy if you really don't care your project looks like crap." This book doesn't fall into either category.
Overall great buy, highly recommended.
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4 1/2 stars almost perfect. I bought this book for my brother so I had to look at it. Generally excellent and I got a good tip to spray vertical surfaces from the top not the bottom. Works much better as you can blend in any drips or runs as you spray. I had always been taught to spray bottom up. I didn't look at the DVD but my brother liked it a lot.
Why not 5 stars? A couple minor picky nits. Water may be a thinner for waterborne or not! Waterbornes are complex emulsions like oil and vinegar dressing. Adding too much water may have two adverse effects; first it can cause the emulsion to separate, second it isn't a thinner for the finish carried by the water. In the later case as the water evaporates the droplets of finish that it carries may not mix correctly to make a finish. In either case you are out a can of very expensive finish and possibly have a nasty cleanup ahead of you. Another nit is that he gives shellac rather short shrift and as a result gives confusing instructions. He seems to assume that everyone will pretty much use Zinster premixed when most folks mix their own. Not horrid but misleading and a bit incomplete.
This is not a definitive work on all spray finishes; but it does a excellent job of covering all those likely to be encountered in wood working.
Overall, while it will not teach the experienced finisher much it is a great book for the occasional or beginner sprayer and a nice reference for unfamiliar finishes.
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I purchase a lot of woodworking, finishing, and DIY books and DVD's. This set is possibly the best of all that I have used. Clear, concise, excellent introduction to spraying. I have finished and refinished quite a bit of furniture. But I don't have a whole lot of experience with spraying. I needed to refinish a dining table and six chairs. The set was natural wood finish combined with paint. I needed to spray a shellac based primer, water based alkyd emulsion, and oil based clear finish. I watched the DVD, perused the book, went to Harbor Freight and bought the types of sprayers Mr. Jewitt recommended, completed the project with no hitches and results that even impressed me. Just the tip from my very happy customer paid for Jeff's book. Just an excellent book and DVD.
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This book/DVD package is GREAT! The DVD gives you a complete overview of all types of spraying, and then the book backs it up with simple, easy to understand explanations with LOTS of full color photos (generally 2-6 photos per page). If you are the type of person who learns a task better by having it shown to them rather than just a bunch of text (i.e. everyone I've ever met) this is SO much better than most books. The combination is what makes it so good - a video to get you up to speed, and then the book to have in the shop with you when you need to look up something - much better than just a book or just a DVD, and at a fantastic price.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for clear, simple and effective instructions on spray finishing. If you are already an expert this may or may not help (how could I know, I'm no expert) but I doubt an expert is reading a book titled "made simple" anyway.
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