How to Breathe New Life Into Your Wood Fittings

By Scarlett Lovitt (Houston, Texas)

In many homes where the doors, cupboards, and other fittings are made from wood, wear and tear can cause great deterioration and spoil the overall look. Without going to the great expense of buying new fittings, how do you save them and get them looking as good as new?

The answer to this is the concept of wood refinishing, which essentially means stripping off the damaged surface and applying a new finish. Although this can save you a lot of money, it should be noted that wood refinishing can cause a lot of mess and does require time and patience. For this reason, if you don’t have much of either, there is the option of paying a company to do this for you. However, if you do choose to go this route, you may find that this could also prove to be expensive (though it is still cheaper than buying brand new doors or fittings).

Perhaps the best solution here is to be adventurous and try it yourself, one door at a time. In these situations, it is always better to start with a single room and gradually move through the rest of the house. The more you try, the better you will hopefully become.

The materials you will need are:

  • A chemical stripper or heat gun. You might not need these in every case, but using them may save you a lot of extra work.
  • Sandpaper or a gritting or sanding machine. If you use these, you will find that the surface that you will varnish or lacquer will come out much smoother, leading to a better overall look once the work is done.
  • The kind of finish that you want to apply to the door or cupboard in question.

 

The next question is which kind of finish to use. The easiest kind to use is Tung oil. Tung oil is fairly easy to apply and it will make any kind of wood look like new. Remember that you must try to remove as much of the old finish as you are able to before you apply the Tung Oil. Its amber color will enhance any wood, and it is also a good base for a wood stain that should be added afterwards. The only possible disadvantage is that it can take quite a long time for the Tung oil to dry.

If you want to apply a more durable finish, you may consider using varnish and polyurethane. For a finish that dries more quickly, you may want to use lacquer. However, lacquer is more difficult to apply than the other materials mentioned above. Once you are done, you may want to apply a clear coating of finish just for an extra layer of protection.

Wood refinishing can be more difficult than it sounds, so work through your house slowly and systematically. Also be prepared to repeat this job every so often, especially if the door or window frames in question are exposed to the elements and therefore expand or warp very easily




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