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NJMC 11-23-2009 07:37 PM

Refinish antique brown Mahog door
I had purchased 6 antique doors and want to refinish ( dress up ). I was told they were oak, but feel they are brown mahogany.
They are in decent condition, but need some dressing some paint splatter, some scrapes/nicks........
They appear to not have a varnish or poly coating but rather an oil like tung oil is a nice natural brown color which shown the grain nicely...but I am sure they may be brighter if redone ( ideas would help)
Any help on how to start, BEFORE I start and regret what I did, would be appreciated.

Do I sand, strip or ???? 1st..........would love the finish they have now if not for the blemishes. they are the correct size and do not need to be trimmed.

( I am taking the locks around to antique dealers to try an match up skeleton keys.......Hopefully, I can find some ( at least 2 )

user1007 11-25-2009 11:42 PM

Door hardware and keys first. I have posted this link before but these people are great for refinishing/replating antique door hardware and as I remember they have matching keys laying around.

Where I am there is a preservation group with a huge store comprised of materials they rescue from old places. They have doors, hinges, knobs, other hardware and boxes of skeleton keys if you have the patience to go through them. Anything like this near you?

As for cleaning them up? I would try something like mineral spirits to clean everything as a start. You might try Krud Kutter, Oops or Goof Off to chase latex paint splatters but go slow given the finish you suspect you have and test on small sections first. If everything else is fine save for a few dings, I would try a wood putty that looks close to the color. The paint store should have a rainbow of color options. Steel wool might be a better bet than sandpaper if they have an oil finish?

I would check with an antique furniture restorer about this before you go to deep into trying to strip out an oil. I don't encounter many old oiled doors so may not have the best advice here. I try to leave them alone when possible.

Did find 4 drop dead gorgeous, oiled, oak pocket doors with nice working tracks and everything, someone had sealed behind trim on a recent project. Cleaned them up with floor cleaning products, and had the hardware dealt with. They look great.

Good luck. They sound like great doors. And what are the odds of finding six, nice old ones that fit?

NJMC 11-26-2009 09:33 AM

Thank you for the reply
1st..........Happy Thanks Giving day!

I appreciate your help..........I will check all the doors over carefully this week and try the mineral spirit wipe 1st.

I indicated that it may be an oil finish only because it is a dull natural finish. Hopefully, I am right.

Lets see how that works......I will post results. I assume there is no easy way to identify finished, because I am no expert.

I was thrilled to find all the doors, even the bath and hall closet.........but in bidding at the auction, I messed up and shorted myself the interior bath closet and master bath door. ( I will have to work on something for those.... Actually, I should have bid on them all for the price........But was concentrating on everything for the hall, and when bidding...I lost count trying to get the matching styles)

I will also look around here for a salvage company for keys.......Thanks for the idea.

Well enjoy the day.......we are just getting started, but wanted to reply!


user1007 11-26-2009 09:37 AM

You gruesome lucky sucker. Unless you are lying, I still cannot believe you bid on six antique doors that look they might fit and got that lucky. You won the lottery among restoration people man.

Willing to pay shipping, I will find you the damned missing doors. The people have this idea anything claimed from an old place should stay here but you ought to see what is happening to the stuff.

NJMC 11-26-2009 10:02 AM

I will take a photo this week of the lot and condition........and post it.
I would like to take you up on the offer, but we are in NJ.........these have to be 60# each.........shipping may get to expensive.

I did not mention the beveled glass entry doors I also purchased because I won't get to them till the spring with the interior door work, but will also photo them.

These doors also fit and must weigh 100# each..........In fact, they are still in the jeep from Sat.............Had to make 2 loads to pick up.

Actually have 1, maybe 2 extras of these depending what I am going to do.
These have a beveled cut oval insert ( Like leaded glass, but has a gold/brass colored metal)....they seem to have been interior double swinging doors.........maybe from a rest/hall ??? Very nice too....

If your a door expert, perhaps you can help ID the age of these.


saggdevil 11-26-2009 07:52 PM

My house was built in 1913 and I have a solid oak entry door with beveled oval glass, sidelights and transom. All have very thick beveled glass and I couldn't even begin to guess the weight of that door. It's beautiful.

Most all woodwork in the older homes is oak with very dark stains such as walnut, mahoghany and cherry (some are almost black). They usually used an orange (now called amber) varnish over the stain giving the wood that rich deep redish look - quite beautiful. In the near future I am going to try my hand at staining and varnishing to get close to the existing wood re-do stairs, etc. Have never done any stain work before. (I'd attach a pic if I knew how, lol)

NJMC 11-27-2009 08:51 AM

Photos of doors
I could not find a way to attach photos, BUT they are in the photo section of the site......uploaded as "doors acquires at estate auction"

I believe the brown matching doors are brown mahog...........these are the 1st to be worked on. ( confirmation of the grain/wood would be appreciated)
Since these are in nice condition with just a few blemishes, the advice so far is a wipe with mineral spirits.........sounds ok to me!
I was fortunate to get a full set of what I needed (3)30x80, (2)24x80 and 18x80 matching.....I just missed count and am short 1 24x80 on a bath closet

The oak door with leaded & beveled glass would be next. Can anyone help ID age on these?? They were side by side doubles 30x80 ea ( may have 1 extra depending on what I do.........but they must be over 100#'s ( heaviest I have seen)

Really appreciate all the help................was afraid to start stripping

Scuba_Dave 11-27-2009 09:24 AM

I inserted your pics

NJMC 11-27-2009 09:28 AM

Thank You
Thanks again...............Could not find a way to link them!

saggdevil 11-27-2009 10:25 AM

The first one with the oval glass is OAK, not sure on the second door.

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