Monday, July 9, 2012


So I've been struggling to strip this salvaged screen door the past week and it's been an ordeal.  Not having fun not having fun not having fun!

I guess I was spoiled with the trim in the house.  Most of it you could flake the layers of paints off the old shellac surface, raise whatever was left over with the heat gun, then wipe it all down with Howard's Refinisher.  That's because nobody bothered to prime it first.

But somebody did prime this door, and the paint wasn't letting go.  It certainly wasn't yielding to chipping, heating, or the refinisher on a steel wool pad.  So I'm trying Citrus Strip for the initial removal.  I might have better luck with Kleen-Strip or Strip-Eeze or something like that, but I'm working in the basement and the ventilation could be better.

The Citrus Strip is supposed to raise all the layers between an half hour and twenty-four hours of the time you brush it on.  Ha.  It bubbles up the first layer of paint beautifully, but for the two or three under that, repeated applications only seems to make the wood soft so it feathers up whether you're using the metal stripping tool or the plastic scraper.

I guess I am making progress. Yesterday I figured the Citrus Strip had done all it could and I came back at the biggest piece of the door (one stile, plus the bottom panel with its rails) with the Howard's.  And it seems to be working.

I'm not enjoying myself, regardless.  Though I find I didn't need to dread tackling the screen insert, which I spread Citrus Strip on last night, as much as I had.  It did seem to have had a natural finish underneath, so the paint came up more easily.

For that matter, I observed that one side of the door (the side it's been hardest to strip), had orbital sander marks in it.  Which tells me that it's been stripped before.

I also noticed-- and this makes me laugh-- marks that tell me that once upon a time the hinges were properly surface-mounted-- on the opposite side from where they were when I found the door at the curb-- and the latchset was mounted on the opposite side, too.  The filler marks don't lie.  This is funny, for I've been debating with myself for weeks which face of the door is supposed to face outwards onto the back porch, and which side I want to face outwards.  I'm leaning towards having the more ornamental moulding be towards the exterior, even though that's not how my front screen hangs.  And judging by the black water stains on that side of the new-old door, I'd say it'd been done like that before.

I'm thinking that the biggest reason I couldn't get those screw cams to budge was all the paint in the slots.  It's out now, mostly.

Can't do anything more with it tonight.  The chimney tech's coming tomorrow and I had to clear out the sawhorses and door parts down the basement so he can get to the water heater flue to put the new liner in.  Excitement.


Shasha Kidd said...

I know how you feel! Keep at it; you'll win the battle.

Nina said...

Have you ever tried Peel Away? I'm a huge fan. It's expensive but you slather it on, cover it w/ the wax paper, leave it for a day, and then peel it and it usually brings up all layers of paint with the paper. You might have to do a second coat but the ease of peeling, and not having to deal with the mess and burning feeling of other strippers makes it worth it.

I also just got a salvaged historic screen door. I just need to make a new removable panel for the screen. It only came w/ the panel of storm windows.

Shasha Kidd said...

I did try Peel-Away. I hated waiting the day and I didn't find that it actually took all the paint off so you still have to spend a bunch more time trying to get what the Peel-Away missed. I now spend 1/3 the amount on KleanStrip and just deal with the chemicals.

Kate H. said...

I can't remember if I've used Peel-Away or not. I used some green-colored stuff a few years ago that you were supposed to leave on for 24 hours, and all it did was harden up. The Citrus Strip is well enough for keeping the fumes and caustic effect down, even if it's not terribly fast. Otherwise, I swear by my heat gun and the Western Wood Doctor on a pad of steel wool.