Finishing A to Z Beyond the Books

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Review by mikega posted 03-28-2008 05:20 PM 4398 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Finishing A to Z Beyond the Books No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

“If you can’t finish, you can’t build” This is the comment Charles Neil made to me when I first meant him last year. By now many of you know who Charles Neil is and that he is on a mission to teach other woodworkers what he has learned from over 30 years as a professional woodworker. His latest DVD set that he just released is called Finishing A to Z Beyond the Books.
As you can see from the picture above this a 10 DVD set. There is about 15 hours of information on the disks. For me finishing has always been the part of woodworking that I really did not care for. There is so much stuff out there that I just get confused as to what goes with what and what steps I need to take to apply the finish.
Charles tells you that you should know what type of finish and how you are going to apply the finish before you even pick up a piece of wood to start building. He tells you that how you finish will determined how you build.
A few things that you will not see or hear on the DVD’s is a lot of talk about the chemistry of finishing products. He gives you just enough information about the chemistry so that you can understand how the products work. Also he does not endorse any certain product. He tells you what works for him and he does not hesitate to tell you what he does not like and why. This production was not shot in some high end studio. It was done right in his shop by people who know woodworking. However the camera work, sound, lighting and editing are just as good as many of the studio produced DVD’s that I have seen. His camera man Billy has worked with Charles for a few years and seems to know what he is thinking so he can focus in on important details and if Charles thinks that we need a closer look you will hear him say “zoom in on this Billy”. The video editing was done by his assistant Sherri Miles. Sherri has worked for Charles for over 17 years and has done a lot of finishing for him so she knew what information was important to keep and what she could edit out. What he does do it to start you out right at the beginning with how to prep and sand your project before you start to apply the finish. Then he moves onto dying, staining, oil base, water base, coloring, toning, bleaching, shellac, top coats, spraying, hand applying, filling defects, fixing mistakes and many more topics that you need to know to get a professional finishing job.
I am not sure that finishing will be anymore fun for me but after watching these DVD’s I have a lot more knowledge and confidence in my finishing to approach it with a different attitude which in the long run will make the whole project more enjoyable.
I feel that this DVD set is an excellent addition to anyones library who really wants to understand finishing and take their finishing to the next level.
The DVD’s are available as a 10 DVD set with a 28 page reference manual (available on the web site) or sold individually or you can buy them by the month. You can purchase them from his web site at
Charles Neil gives you all the information you need to get a great finish, but he also tells you that the only way you are gone to get better at finishing is to go out there, get you some wood and PRACTICE-PRACTICE_PRACTICE.

-- Mike

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5 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4758 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 05:24 PM

Finishing is a weakness of mine. I hate doing it.

I might have to think about this set. Thanks.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4502 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 09:44 PM

Thanks for bringing this to my (our) attention!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4591 days

#3 posted 03-29-2008 02:26 PM

Thanks for the review. I have seen several of Charles’ videos that he has published on YouTube. He take a fairly straight-forward and no-nonsense approach to the subject that he is discussing. Unlike you and Gary I love to finish. This is an area about which I enjoy reading, learning and doing. I will have to look into this DVD set.

Thanks for the review.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View CharlesNeil's profile


2501 posts in 4640 days

#4 posted 03-29-2008 05:25 PM

Thanks Mike, the finishing DVD’s are being well recieved and I want to thanks all who have taken the time to take a look

View Napaman's profile


5533 posts in 4847 days

#5 posted 03-30-2008 08:05 AM

cool…just checked out Charles’ website…there is a lot there…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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