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Foolproof Wood Finishing

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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!!

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