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Front Door Freshened Up

May 15, 2011

I have been working on the front door since last Fall. When we moved in it was painted red, with 3 or 4 layers of black/white and other colored paint underneath. Geoff took down the door and set up saw horses for me in the garage. I used a very thin low order paint stripper to remove the layers of paint. It took 3 applications to get it all off. I wish I had knowledge of the heat gun then! The job wouldn’t have been so messy and taken so may separate application of stripper. I also think the heat gun is better for the wood. When you use a liquid stripper, it saturates whatever you are working on and can soften the wood a bit. You have to be careful when you are scraping it off not to gouge the wood at all. Then you have to clean the wood with mineral spirits or turpentine to remove all of the stripper and let it dry. The heat gun is so much faster and has fewer steps!

Anyway, I stripped both sides of the door last year and refinished the front. It became too cold and I wasn’t able to finish sanding the interior side of the door before winter took over MI for 6 months. I still have to sand and finish the door interior. Maybe this weekend?

I don’t know what species of wood the door is….I have been told pine, hemlock, and douglas fir. It would be interesting to find out if anyone has suggestions! It is a classic Tudor design – arched door with glass insets and recessed panels.

This weekend we took off the UGLY aluminum screen door. The front of the house look so much better now that you can see the door. Once the aluminum frame was removed I had to sand and fill the wood surrounding the door. There were lots of holes from nails and screws and pieces of wood missing.

The Minwax wood filler is great. You mix two compounds and apply it to the wood surface. Wait 30 minutes and it is hard enough to sand smooth. It can also be chiseled or drilled with out cracking, and can be painted or stained.

I choose to use a black enamel paint. The casement windows will be restored and painted black, and the other house accents ( fencing, light, other metal fixtures) are also black so I think it is very fitting.

I also want to add a door knocker. I can see in the door where there was a knocker at one point and I think it will add to the charm of the house. I like the one below from Restoration Hardware. They also carry house numbers that have the same hammered finish as the door hardware:

 Dragonfly Door KnockerVerdi House Numbers

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