Friday, August 28, 2015

Lily's Antique Door

A year ago I got some old doors from a local salvage place. I was thrilled.  $25 each.   What a deal.


More than $200 in paint strippers [yes, plural] and hours of stripping later, I decided that would be the last batch of painted doors I'd be getting, unless I was planning to just paint over them.

Stripping [in any sense of the word] is not my idea of a good time.

I was so disgusted by the whole process, that I didn't get any 'before' pics.   You'll just have to imagine 8 layers of paint over a beautifully shellacked original finish.   The stripper killed the original finish.   The door hardware was covered with layers of paint as well and had to be stripped.  The lock was full of mud and bug guts.

The door:  Turned out to be fir under all the paint. I'm guessing the original finish was Garnet Shellac.  Gorgeous, red.   I can't get that here made up, but I can get the Amber and Clear.  [I'm not interested in cooking up my own yet.  Maybe later.]   So,  I went out and got some Varathane Red Chestnut stain and stained the door. 

If you look at the pic of the finished door, right, you'll see lots of black lines.   This door was stored in a barn and over the years it swelled and cracked the paint, then fungus got in there and started some spalting.  I love it.   I was able to save most of the spalting by not scrubbing too hard during the stripping.

Also, if you look really hard, you can see bits of paint I didn't get out.  I worked on these doors for hours, using maybe 6 coverings of stripper.   Enough already.  Plus I like being reminded of the door's past.  Plus, you already know my Let's Get On With It Already philosophy. 

In the end, the spalting looks great with the Red Chestnut stain and a coat of Amber shellac on top of that.   I love it.   Love. It.

The Lock.  Mortise lock full of crap.  Full story here.   I gerry rigged a fix, then when it came time to put it back in the door, it didn't quite fit, so I finessed a bit and now it fits and works great.

The Door Hardware.   This stuff was covered with almost as much paint as the doors.   Decades of it.   I gave it a long bath in hot soapy water [a couple of days' worth] then pulled out the paint with a bamboo skewer.   You can see bits of the old 'japanned' finish left under there, but way too much of the base metal showing....and rusting.   As much as I wanted to keep that old finish, in this climate, we'd have been fighting rust constantly, so we decided to spray.

Long story short, I went with Rust-Oleum's metallic paint in Oil Rubbed Bronze.   Note:  It doesn't say oil rubbed bronze on the can.   You have to just look at the cap.   Basically, this is black paint with bronze-y sparkle in it.   Tip:   Spray the backs first, then flip and do the tops.   This stuff dries fast, so you can do the other side in about 15 minutes.

In person it comes off as brown, not black, but it's really hard to photograph.

Still, it wasn't the look we were after, so we decided to highlight with some paint I had around the studio.  I grabbed a pot of  Versatex pearlized bronze pigment. There are other metallics also:  silver, bright gold, copper... This stuff is designed for silk screening paper and fabric [which is why I had some.]  We tested it on an iron rosette from another door and it dried fine and would not rub off at all.   A product that is designed more for this kind of thing is Amaco's Rub 'N Buff.  Check out all their colors, here.

The process is simple.   Sit down and apply with your fingers.  Stop when you think it's enough.  Since this is Lily's door, she was in charge of highlighting as much as she wanted.

When it looked right, she stopped.    We let it dry overnight, then installed everything the next day.

Et voila'!   I like how it changes in different lights.   Look up at the first pic again to see how it looks in a different light. 

Lily's bedroom door is done.    Claire's is up next with a whole different set of issues.

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