Finishing Mahogany Front door

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Forum topic by moriartii posted 06-21-2012 10:09 PM 6240 views 2 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 1588 days

06-21-2012 10:09 PM

In conjunction with my other project, adding length to my door, I also need to finish it.

This a mahogany front door with a glass insert. I have refinished it once and it looks like crap, I used Minwax stain and Helsman spar varnish.

This will be the second time doing this and I want to do it right. I have researched a tone on the ‘net so my head is spinning.

My plan is:
-Remove door, I have a temp door I can put in its place.
-Strip door using either Citrustrip or MEK.
-Wipe door down with water or mineral spirits depending on what I use to strip it.
-Sand with 150 grit.
-Epifanes Dutch mahogany stain, two coats. Brush on wipe off, 0000 steel wool in between coats.
-Epifanes Wood Finish Gloss, numerous coats. Thin first coat then add subsequent coats. Nice thing about this product is no sanding if recoated within 72 hours. Big plus for me cause I am lazy.

So now my questions:
-Do I need a sanding sealer before staining? I dont think so since it is mahogany and I want a more grainy finish.
-What do I use to apply the stain and varnish? I absolutely cannot spray.
-Other pointers.


5 replies so far

View AandCstyle's profile


2540 posts in 1679 days

#1 posted 06-21-2012 11:28 PM

Here is what I did to a mahogany door 2 weeks ago.

1. Sanded to bare wood with 80G.
2. Lightly sanded with 100G, then 120G.
3. Applied a coat of Sikkens Cetol Door & Window Natural Color.
4. Light sanding with 240G and applied second coat after 24 hours.
5. Light sanding with 240G and applied third coat after another 24



after, sorry this is rotated sideways.

-- Art

View moriartii's profile


22 posts in 1588 days

#2 posted 06-22-2012 01:14 AM

Wow that looks fantastic!!!

View peterlonz's profile


7 posts in 1655 days

#3 posted 06-22-2012 02:04 AM

Look it’s very easy to show an impressive looking finish with a pic of a newly finished job.
Some observations from personal experience:
1) Important that the degree of exposure to sunlight is carefully considered.
Little exposure with quality outdoor suitable timber (teak, mahogany etc) & you can expect relatively few problems. If exposure may be several hours per day & your summer sunlight is strong now ask yourself do you want to redo the door every year or two or three. You are unlikely to get better than 3 years before you will see signs that a redo is necessary.
2) Try to ensure your are dealing with dry well seasoned timber.
3) The actual grit finish from sanding is not crucial, 120 to 180 grit is a suitable range but you might as well go for 180. This makes control of dust & subsequent nibbing easier.
4) Choose either spirit based or oil based stains. Remember you can easily combine colors to get almost exactly the color you want. For obvious reasons do not use a wax based finish directly on timber.
5) Lighter colors will absorb less UV light than darker colors & so are more durable.
6) Color is best applied in several well thinned applications so that streaking is easily avoided as is overstaining.
7) The choice of clear finish is probably (these days) best made after talking to the tech service departments of SEVERAL suppliers but beware they may know little more than you do.
I still prefer quality oil based polyurethanes, they are reliable, easy to apply, & recoatng every day is possible.
First coat always thinned, light nib removal by sanding with 320 grit. Second & subsequent coats thin only as required for easy application (depends mostly on temperature) & 320 light sanding for nib removal only.
Min 3 full coats for low exposure, 7+ for high exposure. Spar poly is fine but it’s generally a little softer & different only in that UV resistance is incorporated; however this “UV protection” generally is of little real use, ask anyone who maintains a timber boat with brightwork.
If you happen to live in Australia or New Zealand & the door is sun exposed – sorry just paint the door.

View moriartii's profile


22 posts in 1588 days

#4 posted 06-22-2012 02:11 AM

I have just come across Penofin. This seems to be exactly what I want to use. While I have to recoat on a regular basis for a time, the ease of rubbing on oil seems to be the way to go.

I also got the wife’s buyin on the natural look of the wood versus staining.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1784 days

#5 posted 06-24-2012 07:07 PM

1. Strip it with Citrustrip or Methylene Chloride (MEC. not MEK) based stripper
2. Wash it down well with paint thinner and let it dry
3. Sand lightly with 220 only
4. Finish with Waterlox or Epifanes varnish

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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