The Battle of the Strippers

One of the things that I loved when I first toured my house was the fact that the doors and trim were unpainted, except for two doors.  Actually 1.5 doors, the 1st floor bath linen closet was painted white with a white glass door knob and the inside of the bathroom entry door was painted white.  White glass knob on inside, clear glass knob on outside with a dark brown stain.  Both were peeling badly and would need to be stripped just in order to refresh the paint.

I decided to turn the entry door into a pocket door as I had three doors within a 3′ area (linen closet, hall closet, and entry door), why too much swinging in tight quarters in my opinion.  In order to use the original knobs I will need to turn the door around, causing the painted side to be on the outside.  Just to avoid needing to completely strip the painted side I looked into boring a new mortis lock hole on the other side, but a professional carpenter advised me against that.  I have only that one door, so no room for error.

20180804_190354I had started trying to strip the linen closet door first and was getting absolutely nowhere with the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover.  This was recommended to me by a Home Depot employee.  States is starts working in 15 minutes.  It did, but removed one layer at best.  I followed that with the Star 10, a product recommended to my by an employee at Woodcraft.  Stripper of choice by wood craftsmen, or so he said.  It didn’t do much either as you can see.  Both gave off strong fumes.

Nicole Curtis (#nicolecurtis) of Rehab Addict (#rehabaddict) always talks about an orange, safe stripper, so while I am not sure of the exact product she uses I went back to Home Depot and got CitriStrip Stripping Gel.  The carpenter pointed out to me that I needed to have the door inserted before putting up trim and I need the trim up in order to lay tile, so the entry door moved to the head of the line.

I started stripping about 11am and believe I could have gotten the entire door done in a late night, but I had to get home to let out and feed my dogs.  This is how it looked at the end of day one.  I believe one treatment went through at least three layers as I saw white, yellow, and mint green:

20180804_212132I actually applied a second coat, but when I realized the time I knew I couldn’t give its full time to work.  In the short time it was on it did not bubble as you see above, it actually got milky white.  As I rubbed one area with the paint brush I could actually see wood.  It was liquefying the remaining paint.  I wasn’t sure if I would return the next day, so I  wiped the door clean instead of letting it sit overnight.

I did return the next day, applied another coat that sat for about two hours before I used a putty scraper to get to the picture on the left.  A third coat aided by a bladed scrapper and small steel brush (for inside panel edges) got me to a completely stripped door shown on the right.   The directions suggest using Odorless Mineral Spirits with an abrasive stripping pad to loosen remaining residue.  I dipped my brush in it, but did not try a pad.  Before staining I’ll use a fine grade sanding pad on my rotary sander to open up the pores.  I used the entire 64 oz bottle on this door and about a 1/4 of a new bottle.  I believe I could have gotten by with one if not for the abrupt ending on day one.

20180805_181635I won’t strip the stained side, just sand it, apply a primer, and then paint it with semi-gloss paint.  The harder challenge will be in matching the original stain.  Stay tuned.