Restore a Wood Entry Door
Let the wood shine through with a marine-grade finish that's sure to last.
Synopsis: After watching a shipwright apply epoxy to a wooden skiff, furniture-restoration specialist Sean Clarke realized that if this finish could stand up to the sea and the sun for a season, it could surely protect a wood entry door for several years. In this article, he describes his four-part method of restoring such doors. He begins with prep work, which includes stripping the door’s existing finish, repairing surface damage, and sanding all surfaces. Next, he adds color with an oil-based stain, beginning with the panels and moving to the rest of the door. He then applies the epoxy sealer, beginning with the end grain on the top and bottom edges of the door and continuing on until the entire door–including the lockset and hinge mortises–is covered. The final step is to apply eight to 12 coats of varnish, score the finish along the molding to release the panels, sand all surfaces, and apply a final coat of high-gloss varnish. In a sidebar that includes a detailed illustration, Clarke explains how using a jig to hold the door while applying the finish is better than resting it on sawhorses.
Several years ago, I wandered into a small East Coast shipyard. In the center of a quaint workshop was a shipwright kneeling alongside a wooden skiff. I watched as he applied epoxy by brush to the boat’s exterior. At that moment, I realized that if a finish could stand up to brutal ocean conditions and nearly relentless sun exposure for a season, then surely this same finish could get a wood entry door through a couple of years of use.
Wood entry doors can be strikingly beautiful. Unfortunately, because they are exposed to weather and heavy use, they often show their age prematurely.
With a little research and…