Well, I finally got to strip most of the front door today. I think it
looks more like mahogany than oak.
The Rock Miracle stuff did not work as I thought it would. It took a
lot of effort to take off the varnish and stain. I sanded down the
flat parts, but the moldings in the panels are almost impossible to
take off anything. I was thinking maybe paint the inside of the panels
and stain the rest of the door. Any suggestions how to take out the
rest of the varnish? thanks
try a marine or heavy duty stripper, go to a paint store. The work is
in the details, there are tools for stripping wood that are of various
shapes you sharpen with a file for curved areas. Actualy I saw at
maybe menards or HD an electric hand tool with various shape sanding
heads for molding sanding, forget the paint idea.
I have tried other strippers a couple of times, with poor results, so I
always go back to
methylene chloride semi-paste, Strypeeze if I can find it. MC is nasty
stuff. Some of them have instructions
to use water wash, but I use mineral spirits. I have found no finish
that will not come off
with it. It also eats plastic, so take care. The door doesn't look
quite like oak, but the
pix not close enough for me to tell. Pretty. Now that you have sanded
the frame, stripping
the panels and molding may make them turn out a tad darker than the
frame if you stain. Strypeeze, a toothbrush,
lots of steel wool and mineral spirits should work. I went to using
little plastic sandwich
bags for the steel-wool/stripper scrubbing part because stripper eats
gloves so quickly.
Stripper burns like fire on skin, but I have never had it leave a mark
or irritation. I would
be inclined to paint the whole door, especially if it gets strong sun.
Personal choice. You
would still have to strip the remaining wood or do a lot of tedious sanding.
I'm not familiar with Rock Miracle, so I looked at their website. Which
product did you
This is the product I used
It is a methylene chloride paste like you mentioned, but like I said
it did not come off easy on the flat parts of the door.
For the molding, I tried using my plumbers torch to heat the old
varnish a bit, then use a soft wire brush, but it seemed not to come
off clean plus I had to be careful not to burn the wood.
I do have a Dremel tool. Just a basic model. Maybe they have bits for
A sanding bit might work, but likely to gouge the wood. I'm allergic to
sanding, so I rarely do it. When I refinish wood, I
scrub the final application of stripper with steel wool (medium), remove
that, and then clean
off the stripper with fine steel wool and mineral spirits. Messy, messy
job. The stripper
softens the wood just a tad, so the steel wool makes it plenty smoothe.
I would suggest
trying another brand of stripper, semi-paste methylene chloride that
labels for cleaning
with mineral spirits. As I said, some suggest either water or m.s.
wash. Just out of
curiosity, Is Rock Miracle from a specialty store? I can't imagine why
stripper would remove
the finish from part of the door but not the other. Did you leave it on
for at least 20 min?
Work in hot sun? It has to be a thick coat, and if you see a spot has
evaporated, apply more.
Can't brush it on thin, it has to be very thick and puddly.
The most coats of paint that I could count, because of color changes,
was siz. No problem,
ever, getting any kind of coating off.
I'm not sure why you'd want to use such toxic chemicals in the first
place. Peel-Away makes a whole line of strippers that work on just
about anything and most of them are non-toxic.
For a door such as yours the materials would cost about 30 bucks,
you'd slather the stuff on, cover it with the fabric and go away for a
day. When you strip off the fabric the next day almost all of the
varnish would come with it, and what was left is easily scraped off
with a profiled scraper.
You have a nice door. It does look like mahogany. Don't mess it up
with gouges and scrapes. Don't paint the panels and stain the rest.
A flap disk would help. I'm not thinking of the kind that look like a small
wheel but of those that have numerous strips of aluminum oxide cloth with
the ends of the strips slit. You can make your own by cutting a bunch of
aluminum oxide cloth strips each maybe 1-2" wide and 5-6" long. Make
numerous 2" slits in both ends of each then lay them on top of each other so
that they form a circle; i.e., lay down one, lay the next at 90 degrees to
the first, lay the third bisecting those and repeat but with the opposite
side up. Do that several times. Make a hole in the stack, insert a bolt
with fender washers on both sides, add a nut and chuck in a drill (not
In use, the little fingers resulting from the slits get into the detail but
don't sand very agressively so they don't destroy the detail; soften it a
bit but not seriously. IMO. I'd probably use #120 cloth.
Using propane, a flapping sander, dremel, will ruin the moldings
relief, what you are working on might take me 1-2 days, razor sharp
curved wood cutting blades, and good paint remover are what has to be
done, Ive done at least 20 doors of greater difficulty than yours.
After you strip it has to be broght to new wood or the door will not
look good. Take a photo and go see your pro furniture refinisher man,
its a job you need experiance and the correct tools for.
Its a learning process, unfortuantly I never found a fast route and
there is none, he doesnt understand the time required, I would often
have 2-3 guys work a old door for 2 days to restore it. He did the
easy part, some striper and a sander on the flat pieces, its still at
least a day more to go, I bet he ruins it.
You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em.
With the work you've already done the price at the pro stripping shop
ought to be lower. You're at a point now where it will be easy to
really mess up a beautiful door, attacking with scrapers and Dremel
tools. Being smart means not letting stubbornness and misplaced pride
lead to a substandard result. There is absolutely no way you can
match the results that the pros get. Save your artistry for applying a
gorgeous finish that the door deserves. Good luck.
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