Finishing your Doors & Furniture Tutorial
Now your items have been stripped and are dry, they will need to be finished to protect them from everyday use and general marks. below you will find some helpful tips and a quick tutorial to make a great job of it and a list of tools and materials you will need.
You will need to start with the preparation. It must always be remembered, just ask any professional decorator, the key to a great job is great preparation, . It can be a little teadious but should never ever be skimped.Once the preparation is completed you can then move onto the finishing using your chosen materials.
A quick guide to finishes and their properties can be found on our Finishing & waxing page. Below you will find a quick tutorial outlining the preparation and wax finishing of an internal door.
Health and Saftey
With health and safety today uppermost, it is recommended that safety goggles, dust mask and protective gloves are all used during all operations while preparing and finishing your items. Assuming you are going to wax polish your door, under is a list of the materials and tools that you will need to complete your preparation and finishing work. If you intend to Oil or Varnish your door please read the preparation section and then jump to the oil finishing or varnishing sections where indicated.
Materials for Tutorial
- medium grade wire wool “0” grade if possible
- 1 sheet of 180 grit abrasive paper (cut into 6 pieces)
- some interior filler (dry powder type) Polyfiller or own brand
- dry powered earth pigments, raw sienna, raw umber, burnt umber. (provided by us inclusive of stripping, or artists suppliers)
- Original briwax 440 gram tin “Country Pine” (avaliable from us or good ironmongers)
Tools For Tutorial
- 25mm (1”) wide flat decorators scraper/filler (choose a good quality one)
- decorators shave hook scraper
- decorator’s jamb duster brush or hand brush for dusting off
- clean shoe brush or a Liberon wax polishing brush
- small plastic container (take away container) for mixing filler and pigments
- clean yellow duster and a piece of scrim cloth (or another duster)
- 32mm paint brush (bristles bound with string or cut to 25mm long)
If you need to remove panel mouldings to clean behind you will also need
- pincers or pliers
- old flat end screw driver (to use as lever)
- thin piece of wood 50x20x6mm or thick cardboard doubled over
- pin punch
If the door you are finishing has applied mouldings
around the panels please read the mouldings section first. For doors without panel mouldings please read on.
Snagging & Surface Preparation
Lay the door flat for these operations if possible for ease.
Tutorial #1. First make sure your door is nice and dry and then using the point of your decorators shave hook pick out any remaining paint or putty that may be in the panel corners or along the joints between panel and framework. This should flip off quite easily when dry but any stubborn residue can be sanded out. Fold a small piece of the 180 grit abrasive paper in half. Using the folded edge at an angle of 45° into the panel/frame joints and corners carefully sand. Take care not to sand the actual panel or frame as this will cut through the surface leaving a brighter area that will be hard to disguise later.
Turn the door around and repeat the process on the other side.
Tutorial #2. Once all the corners and joints are cleaned out you can start the second step, the rubbing down. Cut off a 150mm length of the wire wool and fold it into a pad. Starting with a panel rub down to smooth any raised grain and remove any debris. If necessary really stuborn marks and areas can be carefully sanded with the 180 grit paper making sure not to cut through the surface or alter the colour of the wood. Cover the whole panel, once done move onto the next until they are all smooth and clean. Likewise repeat the process to the framework. As you go along note any unsightly holes or cracks. We will need to fill these in a later step. Try to make good notes on paper, it will save time later.
When done brush the door down, turn the door and repeat on the other side.
Waxing and Filling
Priming the Cloth
Tutorial #3. You are now ready to apply the first coat of wax polish. Please note that it is important that this is done before any filler is used.
Take your piece of scrim cloth or a yellow duster and fold the corners into the middle once or twice so making a flat pad at the front that you can easily hold. Holding the tin in one hand and the cloth in the other rub the wax with a circular motion. As you rub the wax in the tin you will feel it soften. Take care not to prime the cloth with too much wax as it can lead to an uneven coat. See Image.
Tutorial #4. Starting with a panel apply to the door working in straight lines following the grain making sure you keep an even coat. If you get streaks or uneven build up, go back over briefly to even them out. You will probably need to prime the cloth three times or so for each panel. When the panel is covered use the shoe brush working back and forth with the grain to even out the wax. If you have any build ups or smeary areas, rub the build up gently with a small pad of fine wire wool. Use a paintbrush to apply wax into the panel edges and corners. Move onto the other panels one by one and then the framework. You should be getting the hang of it by now so try and keep a nice even coat over the whole door.
Allow 7 to 10 minutes for the wax to dry then using the shoe brush, buff up the door starting with the first panel you waxed, working first along the grain and then across and finally along the grain again. You should by now be starting to see a little sheen and after the next coat it will look even better. It is not necessary on the first coat to buff with the yellow duster, so save your energy for the final buffing.
First though we need to fill any holes or cracks you noticed while preparing the door. luckily you made notes
Mixing Filler & Filling
You should have recieved three different pigment powders in the little pack from us, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, and Burnt Umber. The Raw Sienna will be the one most used with a touch of the Raw Umber. The Burnt Umber is a very strong red/brown colour and if it is ever necessary to use it must be very sparingly.
While I can give some rough guide to colour mixing the filler it is much a matter for the eye. Each door or piece of furniture will be a slightly different to the next so you will need to add pigment and check against your door until you have it right.
As a guide measure out one tablespoon of the dry filler powder into your container, add two teaspoons of the Raw Sienna and a 1/4 teaspoon of the Raw Umber and dry mix. The dry filler needs to be just slightly lighter than the door. When you are happy with the colour add approximatlly 2/3 teaspoons of water and mix to a thick paste. The colour will darken but will dry back. Using your decorators flat scraper/filler knife fill all of the holes and defects leaving the filler slightly proud. when the filler has dried carefully rub down with wire wool or if the filled area is large use the 180 grit paper wrapped around a flat block taking care not to sand through the surrounding wax. once done brush down with your dust brush.
Waxing. Second Coat
Tutorial #6. When you are satisfied that all the filling is done make sure the door is well dusted off. You can now apply the second coat of wax.
As before make sure you get a nice even coat. This time as the wood is already sealed you should find it easier to apply. Pay particular attention to the filled areas rubbing the wax well into the filler. As before be methodical about the way you apply the wax, finishing one panel before moving onto the next. Then finish by brushing into the edges and corners with the paintbrush. Once again buff the panels and framework with the shoe brush. Once buffed with the shoe brush finish by buffing with the yellow duster. Start off by rubbing fairly hard as the heat caused by the friction tends to melt the surface of the wax spreading it out evenly. As you buff up the wax slowly lighten your touch.
A third coat can be applied in the same manner if you think it necessary.
For doors with applied panel mouldings make sure they fit closely against the panels and the framework. If they don’t it may be necessary to remove and then re-seat them. First check that it is not just that the moulding pins need knocking back in tightly with a pin punch.
Some, but not all of these panel mouldings had a round-over on the edge that meets the panel, this was very fashionable in the Victorian period making the mouldings look chunkier but when this look fell out of fashion in the 1930s they were sometimes filled in with white putty when the doors were repainted. If your door moulding is this style and has been filled putty will need to be chipped out. Use the shave hook and flat scraper to carefully remove it.
The caustic soda does not dissolve putty but can make it brittle and loose. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove any mouldings that will not come clean and re-seat them.
Removing, Cleaning and Re-seating Mouldings
Starting with one of the longer lengths of moulding in the panel. Very carefully insert the flat scraper in between the frame and moulding in the centre of the moulding and gently prise it out away from the frame. When the gap is large enough insert the screwdriver or lever. Working towards a corner lever it out and up until one end of the moulding is free. Now work to the other end which should come away easily. Make sure if you need to take off more than one moulding from the panel you number the moulding and it’s position.
The moulding should come off with most of the pins still in it. Remove those that stay in the panel with the pincers taking care not to bruise the panel. Remove the old pins that stay in the moulding by pulling them out from the back of the moulding using the pincers so as not to damage the face (done carefully they should pull through cleanly).
Once you have taken off the necessary mouldings, clean them using the decorators shave hook and wire wool. Make sure the panels and framework are also free from putty and debris before you start to replace the mouldings.
Replace all mouldings making sure they will sit correctly before re-pinning. If possible use new pins of a similar size to the original. Sometimes it may be necessarry to put the pins just next to where the old ones were. This is to make sure you get a tight fixing. Drive the heads below the surface a little with a pin punch.