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How to Refurbish an Old Wooden Door in 3 Steps

September 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Antique or aged solid-wood doors are sometimes neglected when the varnish has worn away, exposing the wood to the exposure of the sun and rain. However, these doors are restorable when the varnish or paint has partially or completely disappeared. For doors with the majority of varnish missing from the wooden surface, you begin the restoration process by sanding and scraping the remnants of varnish, as well as the dried-out portion of the wood surface, until the wood is freshly exposed and exudes its fragrance.

When the old finish is only partially damaged, it is much easier to first remove it with methylene chloride. After a few minutes, the old finish dissolves and is easily scraped off. You need to neutralize and clean off the chemical with rags soaked in denatured alcohol before sanding. After the sanding and scraping is complete, the new finish must be applied to seal the wood from further exposure to moisture.

  1. All removable hardware must be disassembled, while all permanent fixtures, such as metal peepholes and glass, must be taped off.
  2. Sand with 120-grit paper, and scrape with plastic or metal scrapers, taking care not to dig the corners of the scraper into the wood. Before scraping and sanding, if needed, pour on a small amount of chloride and brush it over the partially damaged area with 2 or 3 strokes of the brush. The corners are easily cleaned with 00 steel wool and stripping pads.
  3. When you have exposed the fresh wood beneath the surface, apply an oil-based varnish in 3 coats, allowing each top coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Your old wooden door is restored when the last coat of varnish is applied to bring out the vibrant color and definition of the newly-exposed wood grain.


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