Doors! Doors! Doors

Yep, I’m finally back onto doing stuff. All my upstairs doors are now stripped of paint! A few that were never painted still need their varnish stripped!


How did I manage this so fast? I found a corner to cut. I’m not doing anything to the back sides of the sliding closet doors. They’ll remain like this. I’ll probably give them a light scraping to knock off what’s loose. The neighbor’s kids are the only ones who might shut themselves in the closet, and they can judge me if they want.

Awesome door. Yes it's upside down. Trust me, the other one looks the same.

Awesome door. Yes it’s upside down. Trust me, the other one looks the same.

Now I don’t mean they’re completely done. I still have some bits here and there and the original varnish that didn’t come off is getting a little globby. Still, it means a lot to be done with the thick, heavy paint. Like this. Mmm, beans.


So my original plan was to use wood filler and repair all the gouges and paint the doors white to match the trim. The wood messed up this plan. It’s just too nice. Now instead I just want to get some kind of consistent coloring between the doors. The flaws stay as they were. They just look like character on nice wood.

So the rest of the doors. I have these for all openings from the upstairs hall.


I suspect that they’ll all end up kind of a medium wood color like the one on the left. All the doors have the awesome reeding on both sides except the linen closet and bathroom doors, which will have them on the hallway side only. I’m using these with white porcelain knobs.

And then in the back bedroom I have this awesome tall pair that forced me to build a sloped ceiling.


They’re not getting stripped because the paint is sound and I suspect that they were never stained and that the wood is paint grade.

Then there’s a bit of abuse I have to fix. The linen closet door looks like its previous owners mortised hinges with a Sawzall.


Though I’m leaving a lot of holes where they were, this abuse has to get cut off. And then I need to take off from the other side for symmetry and stain the new cuts to match the old door.

The massive heavy doors on the front bedroom closet are gonna slide. The pulls I got are big enough to hide the doorknobs but not this patch where there was once a lock.


I might just paint them brown to match the wood. So, any advice? I’m thinking I’ll keep the doors as light as possible. Not blond. I want them dark enough to contrast with the floors. But I could go to a dark brown if I wanted to. Let me know what you think!


11 thoughts on “Doors! Doors! Doors

  1. judy

    Bee U Ti Full! I can’t wait to see it all finished with a nice easy chair for you and the Irishman-He deserves a break too.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      I thought for a while, since he cinderblocked shut my original bathroom window for free like a year and a half ago, that I owed him a dinner out. I’ve tried to pin him and his wife down to go someplace fancy. I’ve tried to get him to come for the food specials I learned to survive on. I tried to take the kids to Hibachi. HE DOESN’T TAKE BREAKS.


  2. Stacey at Dohiy

    The sawzall thing made me laugh! Former owners suck.
    The best way I know to get differing wood to match is thin coats of gel stain to build up a consistent color and a lot of patience. You probably want more than one color of gel stain. It’s a forgiving technique, but it takes an age (if you’re me).


      1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

        Yeah this sounds similar to what a co-worker who’s into woodworking suggested. He said use a water based gel stain, possibly over a coat of shellac. I should point out that these doors are not original to my house. I bought them from a salvage yard, though that hinge mortising job would fit in with the quality of work the previous owner of my house did, too.


  3. Rosietta

    Love the doors without the paint. I’m actually a fan of the one on the right more. I don’t know why. It seems older with the darker wood tint. Maybe it shows the marks more. Also the older doors did tend to be made of darker woods and had less of the warm yellow tinges … Maybe that’s it. Anyways, just personal preference. Love them both though. What solvent did you use to strip the paint? I’m dying to strip the rest of our banister. I used up a circular sand disk when we first moved to see what it was like underneath one area … cherry banister with I think maple or oak treads, risers and stringers. I know of some great wood stain options that we have used. I’ll get back to you on the name.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      I used SoyGel. It works great on latex paint and on old oils that had varnish under them originally. And it doesn’t smell bad or burn your skin. The only downside is that you have to let it work a long time. I put it on a day ahead and put Saran wrap over it. I wrote about this over a year ago before I abandoned stripping to do more pressing jobs. Here’s the old post:

      As for the stain color, I’m on the fence, but I will be stripping every bit of the old varnish off until they lighten up before restaining them no matter what. And yes, I’d be glad for your feedback on stains.


      1. Rosietta

        Talked to John and he said the thing I was thinking about is called tradesmen’s secret but it’s more about slightly revitalizing old wood and has a very slight stain. He said minwax would probably be best to make them look more similar. That’s what I’ve used too. If you make a thin coat it shouldn’t be too much


  4. Mary Elizabeth

    My favorite phrase on this post is “mortised hinges with a Sawzall.” As for the stain, my thought is that after you strip all the doors, pick a stain that matches the darkest one. Gel stain is perfect. You can rub it on a little at a time until you get the color you want. Then use a couple of coats of poly (gel form is good there, too) to protect the finished product. We only use shellac when we are trying to match a wood that was originally shellacked and thus has a yellow tint. You can use that over the stain.

    You are not going to get matching doors, as they may not all be the same wood, but you can keep them similar in tone.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Thanks! And yes, that’s exactly right. The two big heavy doors are definitely better wood than the other 5. And downstairs, I have the sliding patio door that’s new pine, the front door that’s mahogany, and a vestibule door from a neighbor that I’ve never seen before. But if having things match perfectly were important to me, I’d have done it differently.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s