WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Wood Finishing Fixes

Wood Finishing Fixes
by Michael Dresdner

Taunton Press: 2003
Paperback, 138 pp., $$19.95
ISBN 1-56158-591-2

     Michael Dresdner's new book is a well-organized question and answer session on wood preparation and the application of finishes, on compatibilities of different finishes and on repairs of disastrous finishes. He divides the book into seven basic chapters, each with its own list of contents so problems and solutions can be quickly found. It is also fully indexed to aid in locating an answer to a question quickly.
     Several charts are included, as for what finish can go over or under another, curing times of various finishes and how many coats are recommended for durability of a finish. He has an entire chapter on 'Repairing Furniture Disasters' for every time you've wanted to holler, 'Help!'
     Dresdner's guidance is always forthright: "Do I need a spray booth?" "Only if you plan to spray." He then describes several alternatives to setting up a spray booth and teaches how to choose the right spray gun for different purposes. At many points in the text are the words, "You can, but I don't recommend it," followed by sound reasoning and alternative actions. One thing about Michael Dresdner is, he gives his opinion, then backs it up with a knowledge base expressed in clear and concise terms. Dresdner promotes what he considers the best products to solve the problems presented, but he is just as quick to recommend no finish at all, such as on a workbench top so it can be flattened easily and won't become slippery to plane workpieces on.
     This is a problem-solving book, with lots of hints and tips thrown in along the way. Full color photographs and pastel highlights on every page, separate questions from answers and make an attractive presentation of the material. Whether choosing a finish, stripping a finish, trying to achieve a particular sheen, repairing damaged finishes or maintaining the patina of an antique, there is much to learn here.
     My favorite line in the book is a quote the author lists at the bottom of the Acknowledgement page by one Margaret Fuller (1810-1850): "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." Thanks, Michael.

. . . Barb Siddiqui