Antique Door Refinishing Challenge - Part 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 06-14-2020, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Antique Door Refinishing Challenge - Part 2

I am refinishing the 100+ year old oak antique door shown below. The veneer on the main areas of the door is an amazing thickness but the veneer on the two bottom panels is traditionally thin. The second picture below shows how thin the veneer is. Since this is the door exterior these areas will be exposed to weather conditions.

I am looking for feedback on how to seal and/or top coat the exterior to protect these areas as much as possible.

Thank you.

Gary
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post #2 of 31 Old 06-14-2020, 01:16 PM
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I dont see anything in the photo that looks like veneer, just the frames and insert panels.
Also, this looks more like pine than oak, but I am no expert. If you like the door, it shouldn't make any difference.

If you are just clear-coating, you MUST use a good quality marine varnish like Epifanes. Most marine finishes call for 8 coats and you can apply 2 coats in one day if you plan. Your daily first coat should be on after ALL signs of morning dew are gone The wood must be absolutely dry. Your 2nd daily coat must be on no later than 3PM because it must more or less, 'set' before the evening humidity and dew hit it. If you are doing your varnishing indoors, the hunidity and dew is not a problem. So indoors, I would recommend that you start as early in the day as possible and second coat around 3:30 or so. The longerv drying time between coats, the better. Before the 2nd coat each day, VERY gently touch the surface to make sure it is dry.

If you want a satin finish, build all your coats with high gloss and the last coat with satin. If your door is going to be in direct sunlight all day, You will have to lightly sand each year and apply just 2 or 3 more coats. Do this every year. If mostly shaded, you can get away with the sanding and recoating for at leadt every 2 years, maybe longer. If you live in the north, recoating is not as often as if you live in the south.

The only thing to NEVER , NEVER do is use Helmsman Spar Varnish. It id a spar varnish by name only, It is a really crappy product.
In mostly direct sunlight, you must use the best products available such as Epifanes.

I lived on my boat for 25 years, I know what works and what dont.

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post #3 of 31 Old 06-14-2020, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Tony B ... Wow thanks for the detailed feedback. I will comment further later today after I have finished sanding my project and then digesting your input.

Gary
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post #4 of 31 Old 06-14-2020, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
I dont see anything in the photo that looks like veneer, just the frames and insert panels.
Also, this looks more like pine than oak, but I am no expert. If you like the door, it shouldn't make any difference.

If you are just clear-coating, you MUST use a good quality marine varnish like Epifanes. Most marine finishes call for 8 coats and you can apply 2 coats in one day if you plan. Your daily first coat should be on after ALL signs of morning dew are gone The wood must be absolutely dry. Your 2nd daily coat must be on no later than 3PM because it must more or less, 'set' before the evening humidity and dew hit it. If you are doing your varnishing indoors, the hunidity and dew is not a problem. So indoors, I would recommend that you start as early in the day as possible and second coat around 3:30 or so. The longerv drying time between coats, the better. Before the 2nd coat each day, VERY gently touch the surface to make sure it is dry.

If you want a satin finish, build all your coats with high gloss and the last coat with satin. If your door is going to be in direct sunlight all day, You will have to lightly sand each year and apply just 2 or 3 more coats. Do this every year. If mostly shaded, you can get away with the sanding and recoating for at leadt every 2 years, maybe longer. If you live in the north, recoating is not as often as if you live in the south.

The only thing to NEVER , NEVER do is use Helmsman Spar Varnish. It id a spar varnish by name only, It is a really crappy product.
In mostly direct sunlight, you must use the best products available such as Epifanes.

I lived on my boat for 25 years, I know what works and what dont.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tony, I have done over 150 projects and this is my first exterior top coating issue. Your experience is invaluable and I will heed it. I live in Canada and getting my hands on your preferred Epifanes spar varnish will be difficult. Whatever I end up using your recommendations on how to apply is will be very helpful. The precision of the timing of applying the top coats is eye popping. Thank you much.

Gary
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post #5 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 06:25 AM
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Will you share a few pics how's it look after finishing.....
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post #6 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 07:19 AM
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I would think Epifanes would be available in Canada.
It is a marine product for use on wooden parts of boats like wood handrails, doors, teak decks etc.
If there is a major boating area near you, they will have it. West Marine or Amazon.com should have it. Most exterior doors are painted and usually not clear coated. Up in Canada, Epifanes should last much longer than down here on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Epifanes is a good looking, tough, durable product. When we lived on my boat, we walked on it every day.
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post #7 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Andrew77 View Post
Will you share a few pics how's it look after finishing.....
I put a note on may calendar to share some pictures when the door is done which will be 3 or 4 weeks from now.

Gary
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post #8 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 08:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
I would think Epifanes would be available in Canada.
It is a marine product for use on wooden parts of boats like wood handrails, doors, teak decks etc.
If there is a major boating area near you, they will have it. West Marine or Amazon.com should have it. Most exterior doors are painted and usually not clear coated. Up in Canada, Epifanes should last much longer than down here on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Epifanes is a good looking, tough, durable product. When we lived on my boat, we walked on it every day.
Tony my initial searching was based on woodworking and refinishing. By searching marine products I was able to find Epifanes in Canada. I haven't resolved yet whether I can get it locally. Can you recommend which specific Epifanes product I should use? Thank you.

Gary
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post #9 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 08:51 AM
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I speak highly of the regular Epifanes Clear Varnish.
although it is not "clear", it has a slight amber color.
it is as thick as honey and must be thinned considerably
for brushing or spraying.
it is also very prone to skin-over in the can. so it is advisable
to spray an argon based oxygen replacement product in the can
before sealing the lid - especially if you will not use it again for awhile.
I have never used any of their other products.
there are several other "brand names" of very good marine varnish
on the market. expect to pay dearly for "the good stuff".

door is looking GREAT so far, BTW.

.

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post #10 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
I speak highly of the regular Epifanes Clear Varnish.
although it is not "clear", it has a slight amber color.
it is as thick as honey and must be thinned considerably
for brushing or spraying.
it is also very prone to skin-over in the can. so it is advisable
to spray an argon based oxygen replacement product in the can
before sealing the lid - especially if you will not use it again for awhile.
I have never used any of their other products.
there are several other "brand names" of very good marine varnish
on the market. expect to pay dearly for "the good stuff".

door is looking GREAT so far, BTW.

.
John, very detailed input ... thank you.

What do I thin the Epifanes with? Mineral spirits? How much to add?

The door should restore into a beautiful piece ... thanks.

Gary
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post #11 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 11:32 AM
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I don't know the process of how Tony used his products.
when I first started using Epifanes, many years ago, I called the
local distributor about thinning and the guy said 100% mineral spirits
will work fine. after that project, I ordered their proprietary thinner
for spraying (also used in brushing).
Antique Door Refinishing Challenge - Part 2-epifanes-002.jpg
I am not a chemist by any means. but, when I smelled the "special spray thinner"
it smells exactly like VM&P Naphtha - not mineral spirits.
so whatever you can find will work well for thinning.
for me, I thin way, way down to water consistency and build up layers
with decreasing thinner and a couple of unthinned layers.
anywhere from 8 to 15 coats will be required for the best UV protection
and recoated every couple of years, depending on the exposure.
ALL clear coats are maintenance items. you must be willing to put in the time
when required to maintain the finish. if not, you will be better off using paint.

this information was copied from the WWW.

"Mineral spirits will dissolve only paint that is still fresh.
Naphtha is a petroleum solvent similar to mineral spirits but with a greater volatility;
it is used chiefly as a paint thinner or a cleaning agent. Naphtha is a more powerful solvent than
mineral spirits, so less is needed to thin the same amount of paint. But it also makes paint dry faster
and may make it hard to blend strokes or brush out drips.

Naphtha is highly flammable; when using it, work in a well-ventilated area -- out-of-doors,
if possible -- and wear rubber gloves and a respiratory mask. It can quickly dissolve wax layers,
but naphtha can also penetrate through the wax and seep under veneer.
There, it will dissolve the glue, causing the veneer to loosen".


so ~ the bottom line is:
100% Mineral Spirits for brushing
or their "special brushing thinner" TPVB.500 which is probably just mineral spirits.
and
VM&P Naphtha for spraying (unless you have veneer to deal with).

Name:  thinner.jpg
Views: 57
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.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 06-15-2020 at 11:59 AM.
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post #12 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
I don't know the process of how Tony used his products.
when I first started using Epifanes, many years ago, I called the
local distributor about thinning and the guy said 100% mineral spirits
will work fine. after that project, I ordered their proprietary thinner
for spraying (also used in brushing).
Attachment 391081
I am not a chemist by any means. but, when I smelled the "special spray thinner"
it smells exactly like VM&P Naphtha - not mineral spirits.
so whatever you can find will work well for thinning.
for me, I thin way, way down to water consistency and build up layers
with decreasing thinner and a couple of unthinned layers.
anywhere from 8 to 15 coats will be required for the best UV protection
and recoated every couple of years, depending on the exposure.
ALL clear coats are maintenance items. you must be willing to put in the time
when required to maintain the finish. if not, you will be better off using paint.

this information was copied from the WWW.

"Mineral spirits will dissolve only paint that is still fresh.
Naphtha is a petroleum solvent similar to mineral spirits but with a greater volatility;
it is used chiefly as a paint thinner or a cleaning agent. Naphtha is a more powerful solvent than
mineral spirits, so less is needed to thin the same amount of paint. But it also makes paint dry faster
and may make it hard to blend strokes or brush out drips.

Naphtha is highly flammable; when using it, work in a well-ventilated area -- out-of-doors,
if possible -- and wear rubber gloves and a respiratory mask. It can quickly dissolve wax layers,
but naphtha can also penetrate through the wax and seep under veneer.
There, it will dissolve the glue, causing the veneer to loosen".


so ~ the bottom line is:
100% Mineral Spirits for brushing
or their "special brushing thinner" TPVB.500 which is probably just mineral spirits.
and
VM&P Naphtha for spraying (unless you have veneer to deal with).

Attachment 391085

.
John, the level of detail is intense. If I end up buy Epifanes I will have to do lots of testing to makes that I can thin it properly to apply by brush. Thank you for your attention.

Gary
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post #13 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 04:39 PM
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What John said is spot on.
Not sure because i havent used it in a long while. But I think I remember the instructions stated somewhere to start using a highr percentage of thinner for the first 3 coats then less as you build. It makes sense because you want the first couple of coats to sink into the wood. Anyway, that is just a recollection that I think was pertinent to Epifanes.

Epifanes can be ordered through Amazon.com

@John Smith_inFL The term 'clear' when used with finishes is somewhat of a misnomer. Clear means Amber, Water White means clear. Anyway, now that water base stuff and acrylics have gained so much popularity, "clear" may mean 'Water White again.
When I work with a new product line I have to call tech support to be clear about it.

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post #14 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
What John said is spot on.
Not sure because i havent used it in a long while. But I think I remember the instructions stated somewhere to start using a highr percentage of thinner for the first 3 coats then less as you build. It makes sense because you want the first couple of coats to sink into the wood. Anyway, that is just a recollection that I think was pertinent to Epifanes.

Epifanes can be ordered through Amazon.com

@John Smith_inFL The term 'clear' when used with finishes is somewhat of a misnomer. Clear means Amber, Water White means clear. Anyway, now that water base stuff and acrylics have gained so much popularity, "clear" may mean 'Water White again.
When I work with a new product line I have to call tech support to be clear about it.
Tony, I had some good luck today. I live in a small city (75,000). I decided I would look at a local store that sells some marine supplies. I found one ... it's small ... it's been around forever ... and today I found Epifanes there. It was expensive but they actually had a half quart size... never heard of that before. That should be enough to top coat the outside of a door.

Gary
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post #15 of 31 Old 06-15-2020, 06:37 PM
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Fantastic News. Glad you found it.
Living north of the border you should be getting better longevity than those of us living in a frying pan in the southern US. Direct sunlight is a killer.
You will be more than satisfied with the finish. BTW, you can apply the finish outdoors as long as it is not applied in direct sunlight.

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post #16 of 31 Old 06-17-2020, 04:10 AM
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My recommendation of putting 2 coats a day on the doors was based on the local climate on the Texas coast. And, the fact that my boat was always in full sun.
I believe that Epifanes recommends only one coat a day. If it gets hot up there and you feel confident that the first coat is pretty well cured by mid day then go for it. If you think the morning's coat is still soft, then dont apply the second coat on the same day. Something you will have to play by ear. Will you be applying the Epifanes indoors? Will you be applying it on saw horses where you have to flip them over? If that is the case, then only apply once a day.
My boat was in the water so I had no choice.
Also John reminded me that Epifanes has it's own proprietary thinner - Use it. Dont cheap out.

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post #17 of 31 Old 06-17-2020, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
My recommendation of putting 2 coats a day on the doors was based on the local climate on the Texas coast. And, the fact that my boat was always in full sun.
I believe that Epifanes recommends only one coat a day. If it gets hot up there and you feel confident that the first coat is pretty well cured by mid day then go for it. If you think the morning's coat is still soft, then dont apply the second coat on the same day. Something you will have to play by ear. Will you be applying the Epifanes indoors? Will you be applying it on saw horses where you have to flip them over? If that is the case, then only apply once a day.
My boat was in the water so I had no choice.
Also John reminded me that Epifanes has it's own proprietary thinner - Use it. Dont cheap out.
Tony, luckily for me my top coating work will all be done inside in my workshop on a table with the door being flipped over as required.

I am still trying to figure out which of the Epifanes products I should use, how many coats I need to apply, whether a half quart is enough and how to make it semi-gloss if necessary.

Thank you for the continuing advice.

Gary
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post #18 of 31 Old 06-17-2020, 10:05 AM
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Will your doors be living in direct sunlight? This could be a major factor in how many coats need to be applied. The 8 coats I used to do was based on the boat living in direct sunlight all day. If shaded all of the time, you can get away with half of that. Sunshine is your worst enemy.


If you want a Matte finish, use this as your last coat "Epifanes Wood Finish Matte Varnish"
I would apply all my coats on one side before I flip the doors to the other side and due to weight. I would also wait an extra day since doors are heavy and you dont want to leave a saw orse impression.

I found this page on Epifanes website. Contains great info. https://www.epifanes.com/page/q_and_a

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post #19 of 31 Old 06-17-2020, 12:15 PM
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That is quite a discussion of exterior varnish.
Backing up a bit, has this door been exposed to weather for the last 100 years, or has it been an interior door--even the inner door in a vestibule entry?
Exterior doors of that vintage were made almost exclusively of white oak which is very durable when exposed to weather. The stiles and rails were commonly veneered with thick, sawn veneer. It had to be thick to accommodate the limited accuracy of the molders and double ends of the day used for the final surfacing and joinery cuts. Sliced veneer that thick develops deep checks or cracks as it is curled by the veneer knife. Modern advances have changed this, but that is how it had to be done back then. The flat panels could be veneered with thinner, less expensive sliced veneer since they were just sanded.

It looks like the bottom 2 panels originally had some applied moldings around the edges. There are shadow lines around the panel perimeters and some signs of nails used to hold them on. Also, there are marks--perhaps from when they were removed so they could be relocated. Again, this was common in a half lite door if a plant didn't have a molder or sticker with a side jump spindle to move in and out for the upper and lower parts of the door. It is a feature of a door that does not take kindly to being rained on as the nailed in moldings are not tight either way.

The figure of the wood, especially in the top rail and the upper ends of the stiles, looks to me more like ash than white oak. It has the busier figure I associate with ash rather than the more restrained grain of white oak, but they are close enough that it is a common substitution in interior use due to the lower cost of ash. That is why I ask about the doors history. White oak is very durable when exposed to weather. Ash is not and would not be used in an exterior door. I couldn't identity the wood for certain without closer examination. If this has always been an exterior door, you will be ok. But, if this is an interior door you are repurposing for exterior use, it would not hold up well.
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That is quite a discussion of exterior varnish.
Backing up a bit, has this door been exposed to weather for the last 100 years, or has it been an interior door--even the inner door in a vestibule entry?
Exterior doors of that vintage were made almost exclusively of white oak which is very durable when exposed to weather. The stiles and rails were commonly veneered with thick, sawn veneer. It had to be thick to accommodate the limited accuracy of the molders and double ends of the day used for the final surfacing and joinery cuts. Sliced veneer that thick develops deep checks or cracks as it is curled by the veneer knife. Modern advances have changed this, but that is how it had to be done back then. The flat panels could be veneered with thinner, less expensive sliced veneer since they were just sanded.

It looks like the bottom 2 panels originally had some applied moldings around the edges. There are shadow lines around the panel perimeters and some signs of nails used to hold them on. Also, there are marks--perhaps from when they were removed so they could be relocated. Again, this was common in a half lite door if a plant didn't have a molder or sticker with a side jump spindle to move in and out for the upper and lower parts of the door. It is a feature of a door that does not take kindly to being rained on as the nailed in moldings are not tight either way.

The figure of the wood, especially in the top rail and the upper ends of the stiles, looks to me more like ash than white oak. It has the busier figure I associate with ash rather than the more restrained grain of white oak, but they are close enough that it is a common substitution in interior use due to the lower cost of ash. That is why I ask about the doors history. White oak is very durable when exposed to weather. Ash is not and would not be used in an exterior door. I couldn't identity the wood for certain without closer examination. If this has always been an exterior door, you will be ok. But, if this is an interior door you are repurposing for exterior use, it would not hold up well.
John, I only know some of the answers to your questions and comments. As part of my refinishing process I have removed the moldings. The stiles and rails have very, very thick veneer and the panels have dangerously thin veneer.

I will get some feedback from the customer about the history of the door. Hopefully she knows the history but possibly she may not.

Gary
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