Finishing Magic - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Book Report: While Bill Russel’s book focuses on woodgraining furniture, his techniques can be readily applied to any home improvement or decorating project around the house.


Finishing Magic

As a pre-cursor to the actual woodgraining techniques, Russel first reviews the real thing, showing various types of woodgrain in full colour photographs and explaining the reasons and factors which make the wood appear like it does. This includes ordinary sawn lumber as well as specialty grains such as crotch and burl.

Next, there is a detailed discussion on the materials used for woodgraining. He discusses paints and glazes and how they are used to create the woodgraining effects. This includes important details, such as the reasons why the base coating should be oil based paint. Further discussion of glazing paints is followed up with discussions about other materials and their uses in woodgraining.

The tools of the trade are discussed in detail, including specialty brushes and graining tools. The advantages and disadvantages of various bristle types is also covered. Miscellaneous tools such as tape, palette knives, sandpaper, stripers and tack clothes are also discussed.

The next section covers techniques. Each element is discussed, from preparing the surface to glaze recipes, then actual techniques on how to apply the glaze for different grain effects are covered, introducing both the techniques and the tools to do the job right.

Following the general technique section is a look at how to create specific species of wood. This includes light oak, macassar ebony, bird’s eye maple, satinwood, crotch mahogany, elm burl, walnut, amboyna burl, weathered pine, heart-grain mahogany and zebrawood.

The balance of the book covers six specific projects in detail, including how to create the look of normal construction such as glued-up boards, edging on table tops and veneered designs. This section does not cover the actual construction of the projects, however the techniques can be readily applied to your own projects.

Book Type - Technique
Level - Intermediate to Expert
Author - Bill Russell
Publisher - Popular Woodworking Books
Softcover, 8.5" x 11", 125 Pages, $38.99 CDN

How it's Done
  • Woodgraining: An Overview
  • Materials and Tools
  • Woodgraining Techniques
Step-by-Step Projects
  • Mahogany Writing Table
  • Satinwood End Table
  • Crotch Mahogany Chest of Drawers
  • Country-Grained Jelly Cabinet
  • Weathered Pine Blanket Chest
  • Bird's Eye Corner Unit


Sources for Tools and Materials

MICHEL THERIAULT is a Canadian writer and
Michel Theriault

woodworker living in Guelph, Ontario


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