YouTube, How to Restore a Wood Door!  I cannot be more thrilled, elated, excited, by how well the back side of the door turned out using only the method described in that video.  I get save the stripper for the two doors that were painted.

I started out by pouring some of the denatured alcohol in a plastic dish, so I wouldn’t have to keep holding the awkward can.  Using a fresh piece of steel wool the first pass on the door immediately went through the thick, glossy build-up.  This door had paint splatter on it and even with pressure scrubbing it was not coming off.  I ended up taking a metal scraper to carefully remove it.

Each time I dunked my steel wool in the dish and went back to the door the area I scrubbed got gummier and gummier, almost as if it was re-staining itself.  I quickly took some paper towels and started blotting up the excess.  That revealed some very smooth clean areas and some gummy areas.  I was perplexed, but determined not to pull out the stripper.

I decided to get a fresh piece of steel wool and go back to pouring fresh alcohol on it and sure enough that did the trick.  The entire door eventually, it took about 20-30 minutes, had a nice smooth surface and as the video states it looked cloudy/dry.

Using my same Restor-a-Finish rag from yesterday, I wiped the entire door and WOW that door came alive and honestly could pass for new.  I let it dry for about an hour and came back and applied the boiled linseed oil, with the same rag from yesterday.  I let that sit, thick, about 10-15 minutes and then wiped the excess off with a clean rag.20180108_010406


The change seems subtle in these two picks, but in person it is amazing.  Of course I turned the door back over and was so underwhelmed by the side that will be exposed that I decided to give it another coat of Restor-a-Finish and BAM!, that did the trick.  I think the coat of linseed oil opened up the pores, so that second coat of finish really had an impact helping to darken the lighter spots caused by the stripping.    Can you tell the difference between the two sides?  I can’t wait to bring another door to the basement.

I’m also planning a trip to Chicago to visit the Rebuilding Exchange.  Their website looks amazing.  They have 76 Flicker pages of salvaged material.  I saw several built-in dressers (already sold) that were more like what I hoped that piece of crap dresser I got from EBTH (beware of that site, I’m one and done) was going to be.  I’m selling it on Ebay in hopes of recouping some of my money.


  1. You should write to the This Old House show and see if they would do a small bit on your house for their show. Film your progress.

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