Friday, September 13, 2013

Hand-applied finishes with Jeff Jewitt, a review

For once I was actually smart when I was packing for going to sea.
I borrowed a DVD from Brian Eve, when my family and I went to visit him last summer. But I never found the time to watch it at home. I tried a couple of times, but for some reason neither my wife nor my children wanted to sit and watch it with me.
Therefore I decided to take this DVD with me, so I at least could watch someone else work wood while I am stuck out here.

Right now it is 03:00 in the morning, and we are positioned about 60 feet away from a drilling rig. Once we are within the 500 meter zone of a rig we have to stay in the engine control room all the time.

I decided to use that opportunity to watch the DVD. It can actually be a cosy watch, with a cup of tea, some biscuits and a woodworking DVD. And even the weather is behaving, so there isn't much rolling or pitching right now.

The review:
Jeff Jewitt guides the viewer along in various finishing processes including staining and French polishing etc.

Without going too much into details, I can say that he manages to make finishing look like it is possible even for someone without a lot of skills in that field.

For every job or operation he is performing, he usually makes some kind of typical fault that everyone would be doing, and then he shows how to correct that fault. This is something that I really appreciate. He also pinpoints where typical mistakes happen and how to avoid them.

He uses different brands of products and never tries to advocate any of the brands which I find is a very sympathetic way of doing it.

The camera work is professional and the sound is also good. There is no background music to disturb and Jeff speaks with a clear voice and at an appropriate pace.
A thing that I really like to see is that he takes safety seriously. Whenever he is working with volatile solvents he wears  respiratory protection. Whenever he is handling finishes by hand he wears gloves etc.
The duration of the DVD is 80 minutes.

To me the most interesting part of the DVD is about the chemical staining of wood, where he is using e.g. caustic soda, nitric acid and other chemicals. I am very tempted to try to make a set of sample boards once I get back to my work shop.

I can highly recommend the DVD to anyone who would like some inspiration regarding finishing.


  1. Funny, I could never get anyone in my family to watch C&W "making traditional side escapement planes" video with me either... Glad you've found a way to keep the ww going despite being away from the shop.

    1. It will only be for 10 days more :-) Then I am signing off.

      I will definitely have to bring some tools with me next time, and probably also a few boards.


  2. I used to work with caustic soda at my former job and unfortunately received several burns from it, in particular one on my foot where the soda ate right through my workboot and sock. It is a shame because they say that you can get incredible finishes with it, but it is a product I wouldn't use in my house. Nice review.

    1. We use caustic soda for cleaning the drain pipes in the house if they are blocked. It is also an excellent chemical for removing old paint. But I agree that it is not a children's chemical. You need to wear the correct PPE (personal protective equipment).
      I haven't tried to use nitric acid though, but I really want to try it on pine. Jeff Jewitt shows that it can age pine 100 years in half an hour.

  3. Replies
    1. I thought that I borrowed it. I was planing to give it back to you some time.
      I was never able to make Mette and the children watch it.
      The chapter on French polishing is amazing. He makes it look so easy that I might even try it some day. But I suppose it requires the right project. A French polished Viking table would be like a Tyrolean wearing a baseball cap.