Need advice on a sanding, please!

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Forum topic by KarenHauck posted 02-10-2014 04:42 PM 1385 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 1570 days

02-10-2014 04:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sander refurbishing sanding victorian traditional

This is a mediocre photo of one of the doors in our 108 year old house . My project, while I’m still saving money for the kitchen project and waiting for warm weather for a couple of others, is to FINALLY paint the woodwork including the doors. They are great solid wood five panel doors. Probably have about 75 years worth of paint on most of them. Yes, probably lead paint. I have a good mask. Ideally I would want to strip and refinish. But I don’t have the space, remember me, I use the kitchen and sometimes my dining room as my workshop! I just want to give them a really good sanding and repaint.
Doing it by hand wears me just to think about it! Some of it will have to be by hand – around the raised panels. My only sander is a Mouse. Will it be the easiest to use? I don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on new tools. But want to do a decent job. I have six doors like this one. Four are painted white. Two are only white on one side. The other side of those doors – are dark, dark brown, with the old alligator texture of shellac! Now, they aren’t pretty, but I do find them picturesque! Several of our “younger’ friends, over the years have asked when the house BURNED! They think it is fire damage!! I will save those for last. But because the others doors are white, well, really dirty off white. They are my priority!
I have sanded and painted three small bachelor’s chests before, by hand. They were flat, smooth surfaces.
Please give me you suggestions! And advice. HELP.

-- KarenHauck

18 replies so far

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3337 days

#1 posted 02-10-2014 04:57 PM

not to much of a painter myself
but maybe a paint scraper
and some light sanding by hand
(won’t send dust around)

you don’t want to remove the paint just the loose stuff

and some of that blue ‘toothpaste’ body filler
from an auto store
to fill small surface dings and cracks
get a rubber applicator for it there too
(it smoothes and sands easily)

have a shop vac to pick up any chips

once smooth
go ahead and paint
(maybe two coats)

hope this helps

welcome to LJ’s

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2671 days

#2 posted 02-10-2014 05:02 PM

You have lead paint. I am pretty sure of this. If you sand this inside your house it is nearly impossible to remove all of it. I have a lead paint renovator’s license. I have heard the horror stories. With that said I have probably done all the things you are thinking about. I wouldn’t do this in my house if I could put it off until later. I have used some good strippers and taken paint off like that. I have restored a 100+ year old door much like the one you are showing us. Mine has a window in the upper area. I was able to take mine apart. It had hand cut dowels in it. Some were broken. Can you get that door vat dipped and professionally stripped? That would move the mess to another place but it won’t be cheap. take this door to the back yard and spread some plastic to work over. Strip it and sand it. Wear a good respirator. You can roll the plastic after you finish and tape it together in a ball. You can throw it in a dumpster and not be ticketed by the lead paint police. That is what you do with it. Then prime and paint it. I just would do the stripping and sanding in my house. Don’t use a shop vac unless you a HEPA filter model. The others are dust spreaders. Remember the lead and getting it out of the house.

View waho6o9's profile


8189 posts in 2573 days

#3 posted 02-10-2014 05:05 PM

Can you get that door vat dipped and professionally stripped?

Bingo, +1 for Grandpa.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1931 days

#4 posted 02-10-2014 05:10 PM

Man, to be honest, I would consider making new doors. That sounds like a joke, but I am totally serious. Sanding huge surfaces like that with meticulous corners and nooks and crannies is going to make you want to die, and then the lead is going to go ahead and kill you. Sanding is my least favorite thing about woodworking and I would rather spend 1000 hours making new doors than 50 hours sanding. I understand if you want to keep the doors for sentimental value, but I would either leave them be or get rid of them. And definitely don’t even think about sanding those things inside. Just my .02

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View rjpat's profile


41 posts in 1974 days

#5 posted 02-10-2014 05:53 PM

Having restored an old house myself, you do not want to try and sand down that level of paint. The suggestion that you clean them up and fill any low spots is viable, but, if it is in your budget, find a professional stripping company that can dip the doors (what I did).

View KarenHauck's profile


10 posts in 1570 days

#6 posted 02-10-2014 06:08 PM

Dipping and stripping would be my preference. But it is not in my budget. Neither is building new doors, in my kitchen.
On response to “patron” – the first response: that sounds like a do-able idea. Thank you.
And thanks to all the other helpful suggestions. I do appreciate them.

-- KarenHauck

View Tim's profile


3805 posts in 1957 days

#7 posted 02-10-2014 07:28 PM

Grandpa why would you need to sand after stripping it? I don’t have nearly the experience you guys do, but the doors I have stripped, the paint stripper works pretty well. Anything that a decent scraper can’t get after that was well enough adhered that it didn’t matter and I just put primer over it. Especially with lead paint I wouldn’t want to sand it. Anyway you guys have more experience so I’m curious.

View Loren's profile


10381 posts in 3644 days

#8 posted 02-10-2014 09:05 PM

I would lightly sand them all over, clean the cracks out,
put Bondo or rock hard water putty in all the crack. Sand
the fillers flush and paint. Just sand to make the surfaces
flat, removing paint ridges. You may want to bevel the
edges a little.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2433 days

#9 posted 02-10-2014 10:48 PM

+1 on Grandpa’s advice. Stripping then sanding is the best method. Don’t do any sanding of lead paint in the house, you’ll just contaminate the whole house. Loren’s method would be my second choice. It is easier and faster, but you won’t get as fine a finish as stripping.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 2810 days

#10 posted 02-10-2014 10:59 PM

If you just gotta keep that door then get the Kleen-Strip brand stripper that you apply then scrap or wash off. It will keep the lead at bay and get down to the wood to be sanded.

My best advice is to side with woodenoyster…get new doors. I know there is something about having the original thing, but in the end it usually is not worth it. It certainly will not add any more value to the home to keep the original doors. I have labored over refinish jobs for clients and I could have built a new one quicker and cheaper in the long run. So, if you can part with the old doors, get rid of them, particularly since they are lead burden.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2671 days

#11 posted 02-10-2014 11:09 PM

Grandpa why would you need to sand after stripping it?

After stripping the door or any wood object, a beard will raise and you will have a rough finish. That is why you sand and sand to the finer frits then wipe with a damp cloth. Raise the beard then sand it off. Then you get those glass smooth finishes.

The door I refinished had bullet proof enamel paint on it. About 80 years worth of turquois, yellow red etc. It wasn’t easy to strip. I got a citrus based stripper that had top be followed with a neutralizer. It was the best my lumber yard had in stock. I applied waited and scraped until I was in the wood.

View bygrace's profile


180 posts in 1965 days

#12 posted 02-10-2014 11:24 PM

I am in the middle of remodeling a folk Victorian built in 1905 and have refinished a few doors exactly like the one pictured. I used a chemical stripper from Sherwin-Williams. Cant remember the name, but you spread it on pretty thick and then put a sheet of fabric over it. The paint peels off when you remove the fabric. It worked pretty well, took off most of the paint and no dust. I’m pretty sure the fumes are non-toxic, but I did it outside and used a mask any way. It works much better when its warmer (sorry). There is some sanding and scrapping, especially in the corners, so it still needs to be done outside. Be extra careful when scraping, the wood is probably pine and can damage easily. Good luck!

-- Andy, Waxahachie, Tx.

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 2356 days

#13 posted 02-10-2014 11:40 PM

just wrapped up a 14 month renovation on a 1900 Victorian.
Miles of awesome woodwork (columns, doors, coffered ceilings) were stripped.
The problem with sending it out is many items came back with structural problems as though glue had been dissolved—others were scratched badly—part of the process is manual—the paint doesn’t just drop off like water.
Many things were tried. The best stuff I used—meaning a combination of effectiveness, lack of carcinogens, etc., etc. —was soy gel. It allowed us to leave the casings in place and continue working as the stuff did it’s job.
More important, no lead dust was created or circulated.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2671 days

#14 posted 02-11-2014 12:13 AM

I think you just got some good advice in the personal testimony from DocBailey. I like the stripping idea since you don’t make the lead airborne and then into your lungs. Lead is tough on us when it gets into our blood and it doesn’t readily find a way out.

View Tim's profile


3805 posts in 1957 days

#15 posted 02-11-2014 12:59 AM

Thanks Grandpa, that makes sense. I think the ones I was working on either the grain didn’t raise that much or I didn’t notice at the time.

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