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Old 04-30-2019, 01:02 AM   #1
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Default Stripping a clear finish off an exterior door

Since the search function doesnít work well, Iím looking for some advice on prepping an exterior door. Due to the intricate nature of the door, it seems like stripping would be much easier/faster compared to sanding.

For those of you that have stripped clear finishes, do you have any advice in terms of products and/or process.

Hopefully I can avoid using a Methylene Chloride based stripper, unless itís the best option. Iím curious if anyone has tried 3M Safest Stripper?

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/3m-s...varnish-remove







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Old 04-30-2019, 10:37 AM   #2
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Wow! That’s a good example of where the designer should be shot for coming up with that particular design. Even worse is that it is being used as an exterior door in the Pacific Northwest, a region where exterior wood doors do not usually fare well.
Obviously a situation where a chemical strip is needed but since I don’t do those...
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Old 04-30-2019, 10:55 AM   #3
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Thatís a pretty serious looking door. The person who designed it obviously didnít take into account the need for ever having to refinish it.

RH beat me to the ďdesigner should be shotĒ comment. That was the ďfirstĒ thought that came to my mind when seeing the photos, especially seeing itís fabricated out of a softwood...at least a hardwood would be easier to strip & prep.

Although I canít offer any advice on strippers, I was hoping youíd share your plans for finishes after the stripping is completed.

Best of luck..
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:42 AM   #4
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Default Stripping a clear finish off an exterior door

I havenít seen the door in person yet, but it looks like a bear of a project. Hopefully the veneers are still in good condition.

Iím not sure how much sun exposure it gets and I havenít talked to the client about what type of finish they want. One option is a coat of Smiths Penetrating Epoxy followed by 3 coats of Epifanes Varnish or Waterlox or ProLuxe Window and Door. Iím also going to reach out to my Milesi rep to see heíd recommend.





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Old 04-30-2019, 08:06 PM   #5
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I would Definitely removes doors to work on them either in the garage or on the lawn on some saw horses..if feasible

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Old 04-30-2019, 08:31 PM   #6
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A high school kid, friend of my daughter, has been helping out some lately for a few bucks. Day one I gave him Rule #1: "Everything we do is hard".
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Old 04-30-2019, 09:55 PM   #7
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I think a sodablaster would work well for this
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Old 04-30-2019, 11:09 PM   #8
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Doesn't look like a lot of finish on the doors. I would start with some citrus strip and see how that does and ratchet it up from there. Will definitely need to get them on some horses and give them deluxe treatment. Some 3-4 O steel wool and sovent will come in handy on the detail. Your sanding will depend on if you are going to stain, tone, or just clear finish. Sounds like you are leaning oil. If so a quart of Waterlox Original Sealer and a quart of Waterlox Marine finish will do the job.
It will look good and protect against moisture. Easy to maintain. Clean with steel wool 0000 soaked with sealer and mineral spirits. Watco Rejuvenate is good too. Put another coat of Waterlox Marine on when the finish starts to thin or at first sign of failure. I have a mahogany door I stripped stained and finished with Waterlox over ten years ago. Put 2 coats sealer 3 coats Marine. Cleaned it with 0000 steel wool 3 times... finish is still good. Door gets high humidity, heat, some sun and rain. (Charleston SC). Door will probably fall apart before the finish fails. Back in the day I would have painted them and called it a day. Good luck.
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:57 AM   #9
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@Tprice2193 Thanks for the advice and sharing some firsthand experience with the waterlox products. Iím hopeful that I can take the doors off for prep, but I have no idea if thatís even feasible since I havenít seen the doors in person.

I like the idea of using steel wool and solvents where sanding might not be feasible. Of the various solvents, are there any specific ones youíd recommend?


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Old 05-01-2019, 09:44 AM   #10
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Get help taking it down and moving it. From the pics it looks like it will be a beast.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tprice2193 View Post
Doesn't look like a lot of finish on the doors. I would start with some citrus strip and see how that does and ratchet it up from there. Will definitely need to get them on some horses and give them deluxe treatment. Some 3-4 O steel wool and sovent will come in handy on the detail. Your sanding will depend on if you are going to stain, tone, or just clear finish. Sounds like you are leaning oil. If so a quart of Waterlox Original Sealer and a quart of Waterlox Marine finish will do the job.
It will look good and protect against moisture. Easy to maintain. Clean with steel wool 0000 soaked with sealer and mineral spirits. Watco Rejuvenate is good too. Put another coat of Waterlox Marine on when the finish starts to thin or at first sign of failure. I have a mahogany door I stripped stained and finished with Waterlox over ten years ago. Put 2 coats sealer 3 coats Marine. Cleaned it with 0000 steel wool 3 times... finish is still good. Door gets high humidity, heat, some sun and rain. (Charleston SC). Door will probably fall apart before the finish fails. Back in the day I would have painted them and called it a day. Good luck.
Best to use bronze wool or synthetic pads on exterior Douglas Fir and ditch the steel wool (assuming itís DF..looks like it from the grain). Invisible steel wool residue rubbed into DF will cause a chemical reaction with the tannins resulting in iron tannate stains...it might not happen right away, but it does happen. Even if sanded, the subtle gray stains often do show up on exterior applications with light colored tannin-rich wood species, DF being moderate...not noticeable on stained mahogany..

IMO, Waterlox Marine Sealer and Marine Finish isnít worth spit in full sun. I had 60 windows doors finished with 2 sealer and 3 finish placed into service in 2009. In full sun the finish wasnít lasting a year on true mahogany due to UV degradation, requiring bi-annual maintenance. It performed better to very good in partial sun. The drying schedule on the satin was poor at best, remaining flypaper-like tacky upwards a couple of days, attracting anything that came its way. I ditched the satin for the gloss after the first day of running finish, the gloss having a better drying schedule.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:05 AM   #12
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I did an exterior fir door about three years ago for a neighbor and used the Sansin products (conditioner, stain, clear coat) to finish it. It is in a well protected location; no exposure to rain and only sideways sun for about three hours per day, so weather issues are relatively minor. It still looks as good today as it did the day it was done. It’s on the spendy side, but appears to be worth it.

As far as any actual sanding which might be needed, this could be a project where designing a custom shaped sanding block allowing you to get into those channels would be well worth your effort. Should be easy to do and could give you an additional prep option over just chemical stripping.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:58 AM   #13
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Fastest stripping method...Laser ablation demonstration for removal of coatings on Douglas Fir..

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Old 05-01-2019, 01:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alchemy Redux View Post
Fastest stripping method...Laser ablation demonstration for removal of coatings on Douglas Fir..

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JPUk00nJ7EE

LOL can't imagine how much these cost
https://www.adapt-laser.com/low-powe...-8576ac5d-d841
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:23 PM   #15
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LOL can't imagine how much these cost
https://www.adapt-laser.com/low-powe...-8576ac5d-d841
I see the backpack version is only 20 watts....not effective for ablating coatings. Last time I checked, the 1,000 watt units run between $400-500K and are only cost effective when removing dry films of only up to a few mils thick...I donít see them being used in the residential paintings and coatings sector any time soon..
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:27 PM   #16
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@PNW Painter the solvent depends whats on the door. I keep a quart of about everything and use trial and error. I don't go to the solvent until I have a decent strip to break the finish. Bronze wool is a good suggestion. The steel wool does leave steel debris that is tough to deal with. I always use bronze when I use a waterbourne because the steel wool debris will rust. I have not heard of the tannin reaction mentioned by @Alchemy Redux but I am usually finishing a darker wood such as Walnut or mahogany. As far a direct sun I am getting it 30 percent of day. Previous finish was minwax spar which failed in two years. I have not used Waterlox Marine on a project with full direct sunlight so I am not sure how it would hold up. It takes about a day curing between topcoats. I thin with VM&P Naptha and use thin coats of Marine gloss. If you want a satin finish dull it up with the bronze pads. If I had to do a rapid turn around I would try GF Exterior 450, its a waterbourne. I have not tried it but a few on here have. @RH mentioned custom sanding block...excellent idea. Good luck with the project.

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Old 05-02-2019, 10:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tprice2193 View Post
Bronze wool is a good suggestion. The steel wool does leave steel debris that is tough to deal with. I always use bronze when I use a waterbourne because the steel wool debris will rust. I have not heard of the tannin reaction mentioned by Alchemy Redux but I am usually finishing a darker wood such as Walnut or mahogany.
It usually occurs only in wet locations and is only visible on lighter species..you wouldnít notice it on walnut or mahogany.

Below is an illustration of the staining as a result of a window manufacturer having removed silicone sealant from white oak glass stops with carbon steel chisels utilized as scrapers. The reaction is caused by iron in the steel reacting with tannins and trace amounts of moisture. We use chromium alloy hand tools rather than carbon steel when prepping tannin rich wood species to prevent it from happening. The stops had been aggressively sanded prior to the stains showing up...with no visible indicators of iron contamination. Steel wool has the same effect on DF. The condition is brought out and intensified on exteriors due to the acidity of rainwater. Itís a good practice to use bronze wool or synthetic pads when prepping any wet location millwork or when working with WB finishes.

(I see I posted the wrong video...rust removal from steel..have one with porch and floor enamel being removed from Douglas Fir..)

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Old 05-03-2019, 07:55 PM   #18
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@Alchemy Redux:. Thats pretty dramatic on white oak. Looks like normal weathering but only in the area tooled. Is the iron acting as a catalyst and causing more rapid oxidation of the tannins in oak? I stored some new quatersawn white oak flooring in a humid area for several weeks and about 10 percent turnned "prematurely dark". The milling equipment I would guess was carbon steel and the humidity was enough to get things going. Thanks! now I know more about the conditions that will cause this. I thought it was just moisture alone.
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Old 05-04-2019, 07:30 AM   #19
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@Tprice2193 : That actually wasnít the most dramatic instance Iíve ever seen, but close to it.

The iron isnít a catalyst per say, rather, the staining is identical in chemistry to the chemical dying or ebonizing process utilizing rusty nails or steel wool left soaking in vinegar (aka iron acetate) when applied to white oak. Both white oak and douglas fir are highly acidic (pH of ~ 3.3}, both contain naturally occurring acetic acid (aka vinegar), and both have moderate to high tannic acid levels. The compound formed in both instances is iron III tannate, which is similar in chemistry to iron gall ink..a ferrous tannate complex..so what you have is a permanent color-fast archival ink-stain.

Although D2/carbon steel planer knives are typically designated for softwoods, the contamination from carbon steel planer knives in theory could cause white oak to darken, the humidity getting things going. Sometimes when kiln dried white oak is milled in humid conditions, if the wood surface is damp and comes into contact with cast iron planer or moulder beds, it will likely result in gray to black stains, so the wood actually does pick up iron from cast iron planer beds..

On the last big white oak finishing project I did, the carpenters set up outside on a misty/drizzly day and rip cut all the window and door casings. All the edges turned blacker than black in a matter of days, resembling saw burn marks, but having a bluish-black color. What a PITA it was removing the stains. Humidity does exacerbate and speed up the reaction.

Good luck with your quartersawn white oak. Nice choice for flooring! Id be interested in hearing how you propose to treat and finish it.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW Painter View Post
Since the search function doesnít work well, Iím looking for some advice on prepping an exterior door. Due to the intricate nature of the door, it seems like stripping would be much easier/faster compared to sanding.

For those of you that have stripped clear finishes, do you have any advice in terms of products and/or process.

Hopefully I can avoid using a Methylene Chloride based stripper, unless itís the best option. Iím curious if anyone has tried 3M Safest Stripper?

https://www.fisheriessupply.com/3m-s...varnish-remove







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I would give them a good scrub with toluene It you have lots of air. Definitely an outdoors approach but for clear coats it does seem to work well. I use a stiff bristle paint brush to scrub with toluene. Then I just rub it out with toluene on a clean rag. Let air dry until all solvent has evaporated and no longer smells. DO NOT BREATH THAT STUFF!
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