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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made these doors 12 years ago for our small condo and they have never been refinished. It's past time to do it and I am in need of advice. I would like the look to be as close to the original as possible but with water damage I think I need a different approach. The original finish was a non grain raising brown mahogany dye stain from Constantine, followed by brown mahogany paste filler from Constantine. I then brushed on several coats of McCloskey Man O War spar varnish. I rubbed out the brush marks with steel wool dipped in BLO. There is a shot of inside the door that shows what the original finish looked like. I believe I need a pigmented stain to mask the damage. The top of the door is not too bad but the bottom has been exposed to sun and rain.
How should I proceed?
 

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You have to be careful using pastewood fillers on exterior work. Most are only formulated for interior use. Other than that just strip the finish off, sand it and put your new finish on. When you get the old finish stripped off if it still has the dark spots on it you might consider using bleach on them before sanding.

The finish would last longer if you would put a fresh coat of finish on every couple of years. Once it starts failing the only thing you can do is strip it and start over.
 

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Old School
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I made a Mahogany front door for myself and first used Interlux Schooner. It was an expensive spar. All film finishes will fail, some sooner than others. When it comes time to restore, and we'll just call it necessary maintenance, it's a PITA. It will require sanding .

I've had better luck with Penofin Red Label. It's high in UV protection, and to maintain takes just a cleaning and re-application. I wouldn't use any grain filler. I would strip the door with "Aircraft Stripper". I would use the NGR dye to blend in. Penofin comes in clear and colors.






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Rick Mosher
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I like Dave's idea of the Sikkens Cetol. I finished many exterior doors in extreme weather and UV exposure and the Cetol held up better than anything else. I does fade a little with direct sun exposure but the beauty is you never need to strip it down. Just scuff sand and apply a fresh coat.

I would be concerned about the joints in that bottom rail though, it looks like the joint could be failing. I would use a quality epoxy like West System to make sure that is solid and then I would paint a full coat of epoxy on the bottom edge of the door to protect it from further moisture damage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Based on the replies the plan is
Strip the old finish
Bleach any remaining dark spots
Sand
NGR dye stain, no paste wood filler
Check bottom rail, repair if necessary,
Coat bottom edge of doors with epoxy
Coat with Sikken Cetol Marine

Thanks everyone for the good advice.
 

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If it were me I wouldn't use the NGR stain for exterior work. It would be more prone to fading than a pigmented oil stain. Another thing that would help with retaining the color is a product called sun block. It's like a sun screen for wood. It is sold by Kwick Kleen.
 

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Rick Mosher
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I like the Sikkens Cetol 1 followed by Cetol 23. These products have pigment color in them and it is available in a mahogany color. The Cetol 1 is a sealer and must be brushed on raw wood followed by 2 coats of the 23 which can be sprayed or brushed. Like Steve I wouldn't use NGR stain outside unless it is a metalized dye. Pigments are natural UV blockers and are a better choice for exterior use.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I wasn't sure which Cetol was recommended so I settled on the Marine which is now on order. It received good reviews and if it means anything, it is more spendy than the other flavors. Point well taken on the NGR fading. I have a tabletop in a sunny room and I have seen some fading although not like on the doors. The Cetol Marine has pigment so I thought it could go on top of the NGR stain. Further reading this AM has some people complaining that the Marine has an orangy color but I think they were putting it over teak. People putting it on mahogany liked the color. I'm now planning to do a sample board with one side NGR stain and Cetol Marine and the other side with Cetol Marine only before applying anything to the doors.
 
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