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Thread: Finishing Interior Doors

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Sudbury, MA

    Finishing Interior Doors

    What do you folks recommend for finishing interior doors? I finally fitted up the last door yesterday and now I'm ready to take them all down and get to the finishing task.

    Here are the facts:

    - Solid Red Oak, simple 4 panel Shaker style with sticking.

    - No Spray equipment (this is going to be a long one!)

    - It should preferably be water-based as "the management" hates the odor from oil-based products and believes she can smell fumes for months on end . I'm preferable to the smell of diesel exhaust myself.

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Hi Nick.

    I've got no "name brand" recommondations for you, as I'm in Japan, but I do like the WB poly, but they can leave a bit of a "cool" color. I'd look at something like Shellac, for a first coat, to bring out the warmth of the Red Oak, and then the Poly on top of that.

    The advantage of Shellac, is that smell is just alcohol, and Shellac is a totally natural substance, edible, you know that most chocolate is coated with it, so it does not melt in your hands, in fact, most candy and pills are coated with Shellac.

    Oh, make sure you get the "Dewaxed" stuff.

    Oh, one more thing, make sure you finish both sides of the door at the same time, or at least as soon as you can. Do NOT leave a door with one side painted, and the other side raw wood, over a weekend, a rainy weekend....... and expect to have a door that will EVER close..........DAMHIKT..........

    PS.........where are the pics??????
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    I would second shellac. The doors in our house were finished with shellac. They have endured over 50 years of abuse and still look good. A big plus is shellac is easy to repair for the inevitable dings etc. Personally, I like working with shellac.



  4. #4
    I will second shellac as a first coupla coats.

    You can also tone the shellac with transtint if

    the doors don't actually match your trim.

    A firm believer in spraying, when you can't there is always

    bartlys gel varnish. It doesn't smell so much.

    It is poly and offers some good protection if you put enough on.

    It was said above to cover both sides.

    You must do better then that and cover all 6 sides.

    I hope this helps a little

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Sudbury, MA
    Thanks for the responses. The pic police caught me so here is a quick photo I took when I got home last night of the basement & linen closet.Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks for the tips on the different products. Per, I had wanted to paint them white, but the management asked me to simply leave them natural.

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