(Former) Church doors

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theallan

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Hi all,

Been doing some work in our local village hall (a former church) with others to spruce things up a bit (mainly cleaning, painting, etc) and one of the things that was raised was that the main doors to the building could do with a little TLC as well. There is a little graffiti on them (not much) and the old varnish is a bit worn. What would you recommend to tidy them up a bit? (photo attached).

Thanks!
Allan
 

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MikeG.

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Find out, if you can, what was put on there before. I have a feeling that it will prove to be a PU varnish, and if that is the case, you've just taken on a mammoth task......because to get it to all work nicely you'll need to sand it all down. All of it. You can't patch successfully.
 

Sgian Dubh

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MikeG.":35eftzcj said:
Find out, if you can, what was put on there before. I have a feeling that it will prove to be a PU varnish, and if that is the case, you've just taken on a mammoth task......because to get it to all work nicely you'll need to sand it all down. All of it. You can't patch successfully.
If it is a varnish,as Mike suggests, it could be a long oil type, such as that usually sold as marine or yacht varnish. If it's failed, as appears to be at least partially the case, this type of varnish tends to deteriorate into a yellow crumbly roughness, whereas most short oil polyurethane type varnishes, formulated primarily for interior use, tend to deteriorate into wafer thin sheets or flakes.

Whichever may be the case, if it turns out to be an oil borne varnish - it could possibly be another type of finish - my advice for repair is essentially the same as Mike's, i.e., sand back to something solid such as, preferably, the wood, or to undamaged varnish, and then recoat. And if you plan to revarnish, go for one formulated for exterior use, i.e., a yacht/marine varnish by brand names such as International, Epifanes and the like available from chandlers rather than DIY stores or regular paint suppliers. Slainte.
 

mrpercysnodgrass

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Allen, those doors are not unlike my front door which when I bought my house three years ago were in a similar state, with partial peeling varnish and partial sound yellowing varnish. I hate varnish on doors so my intention was to have no finish and to allow the oak to silver naturally.
Your doors need stripping, there is no doubt about that. You have alot of flat surfaces on your doors so I would tackle them in the same way I did my door. Firstly invest in a tungston carbide scraper such as this... https://www.screwfix.com/p/harris-heavy ... lsrc=aw.ds
If you use it gently you will remove the bulk of the old varnish quite easily without damaging the surface of the oak. Then for all the nooks and crannies you will need proper stripper like this... http://www.jpennyltd.co.uk/shopping/pgm ... php?id=382 Apply this liberally with a cheap paint brush and scrub off with these... https://www.abtec4abrasives.com/surface ... -558-p.asp
If it was me I would not put a finish on them but if you feel you must then a good quality varnish as suggested by Sgian Dubh.
 

theallan

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Thank you for the replies!

> If it's failed, as appears to be at least partially the case, this type of varnish tends to deteriorate into a yellow crumbly roughness whereas most short oil polyurethane type varnishes, formulated primarily for interior use, tend to deteriorate into wafer thin sheets or flakes.

It doesn't appear to be failing in either of those two ways. I took some closer photos:




From what you all say that doesn't make much difference, it is still a full sanding down (possibly scraping) job. Oh boy...

Thank you,
Allan
 

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AJB Temple

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From practical experience of refurbishing a pair of church doors, the job of getting all the varnish off (sanding and scraping) is much easier if you can get the doors off and get them horizontal on some trestles. Getting into the corners and joints and doing repair work to stop the water getting in, is critical for the longevity of your refinish.
 
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