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Guys and gals, I need help.

I've been asked to help refinish our Oak faced veneer doors on the entrance to our church.

I'm thinking a light sanding and another coating of clear varnish or urethane is all that would be needed......but this is out of my realm.

Later I can go by and take some pics to show what they look like right now.

Preliminary feedback on things I need to be aware of and to take into consideration before agreeing to do this would be most appreciated.
 

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The veneer is thin so it won't take much sanding. The next question is whether the original is oil based or water based. If you aren't sure maybe a coat of blonde shellac first and then it doesn't matter.
 

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The veneer is thin so it won't take much sanding. The next question is whether the original is oil based or water based. If you aren't sure maybe a coat of blonde shellac first and then it doesn't matter.
Charles, thanks for the reply.

They have already been sanded and refinished once since they were originally hung in 2001. I am afraid to take on this repair because I have ZERO experience working with a veneer door. Plus, they are absolutely beautiful and I don't want to be the one to "ruin" them! LOL

So I know, if I were to do this, there would be NO WAY I would use a power sander. I have no idea how thin the veneer is after the last repair. Problem is.....these doors are HUGE!.....2 each about 4 FT wide X 8 FT tall....and 8 each about 6 FT wide a 10 FT tall!!

I had a 15 hour work day today so I didn't get by there to take any pictures. Maybe tomorrow.
 

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Are you repairing them in place or taking them into your shop?
Clay, good question......

They would have to be done hanging in place. They are too large to take down and take to a shop......plus......I don't have a "shop" to work in. I do my sign work either under a canopy or under my carport.

Hopefully I can get some pictures tomorrow.
 

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With 15 hour days it might be tough to handle...consider weather, use, etc while you're working on them.

Hand sanding a varnish finish could be daunting...

Are there also panel nooks and crannies to get into...? Hardware to get around...?

Just a few things to consider...
 
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Unless this is something that you really feel comfortable doing. I might advise backing away from this one. For my self, I would rather be the guy that did not do the work, then the guy that messed up all of these fine looking doors. Just a thought.
 

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With 15 hour days it might be tough to handle...consider weather, use, etc while you're working on them.

Hand sanding a varnish finish could be daunting...

Are there also panel nooks and crannies to get into...? Hardware to get around...?

Just a few things to consider...
Nick, the answer is "Yes" to everything you pointed out. There is a lot of glass....in fact it's majority glass. But still a lot of wood surfaces to address.
 

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Unless this is something that you really feel comfortable doing. I might advise backing away from this one. For my self, I would rather be the guy that did not do the work, then the guy that messed up all of these fine looking doors. Just a thought.
David, you are right about that. I have not committed to doing them.....and I probably won't.

I got asked to do this because I made the church a sign for our Parish offices.....do one thing and then you have inadvertently volunteered for another. Or so they feel. LOL
 
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Frank I would be real worried about what has already been done. Veneer that I've seen was typically between 1/28 and 1/40 inch thick so not much to work with. I'm not an expert on veneer coated items so I don't know if door veneer would be thicker. i would generally say that veneered anything shouldn't be exposed to the elements and the fact that they were done not that long ago suggests that wind, sun, and rain hit them. If that's the case they should have a roof out over them to prevent that, otherwise someone will eventually refinish through he veneer.

Typically, veneer has always been put on with hide glue but for an outside door that may not be the case. because hide glue is water soluble and not heat resistant. I would say that they need an expert opinion about what to do as that will require an inspection and then maybe the work can be volunteered.
 
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Unless this is something that you really feel comfortable doing. I might advise backing away from this one. For my self, I would rather be the guy that did not do the work, then the guy that messed up all of these fine looking doors. Just a thought.
Totally agree. Personally, I would tell them, "Sorry, but I do not have the experience to deal with a project like this".
 
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Frank I would be real worried about what has already been done. Veneer that I've seen was typically between 1/28 and 1/40 inch thick so not much to work with. I'm not an expert on veneer coated items so I don't know if door veneer would be thicker. i would generally say that veneered anything shouldn't be exposed to the elements and the fact that they were done not that long ago suggests that wind, sun, and rain hit them. If that's the case they should have a roof out over them to prevent that, otherwise someone will eventually refinish through he veneer.

Typically, veneer has always been put on with hide glue but for an outside door that may not be the case. because hide glue is water soluble and not heat resistant. I would say that they need an expert opinion about what to do as that will require an inspection and then maybe the work can be volunteered.
Thanks for the reply Charles. I have decided this is one I will back away from.

The doors are under tall, wide, and deep entrances. But the main doors face the West....so the setting sun hits them daily.

The veneer on the doors appears to be fairly thick...but I'm not sure how thick.

Jesus was a carpenter.....I'm a little sign maker. I think He will understand my reluctance to take this one on. LOL
 

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One thing you may do is see if the church can find any paperwork for the origin of the doors and who hung / made them. If the company or craftsman is still around they could give you quite a bit of the missing information. It might even lead to a reasonable quote to refinish them.

That said, most exterior doors are done with "thick" veneer which is 1/16" (0.0625") thick. Not terribly thick, but more than 2 1/2 times thickness of regular commercial veneer at 0.024" (less than 1/32" = 0.031).

If forced or stressed into the job. Consider a citrus stripper and then a good wood furniture scraper. You can get scrapers with curves to match the moldings.
Woodcraft Search for scraper

Steve.
 

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That sounds like a bloody awful lot of work!!!!! Why would (or wood) they use veneer on an exterior door anyway knowing it had to be sanded and resanded as the years passed?

HJ

Sounds like it's time to either reveneer or get a good paint brush out.
 
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One thing you may do is see if the church can find any paperwork for the origin of the doors and who hung / made them. If the company or craftsman is still around they could give you quite a bit of the missing information. It might even lead to a reasonable quote to refinish them.

That said, most exterior doors are done with "thick" veneer which is 1/16" (0.0625") thick. Not terribly thick, but more than 2 1/2 times thickness of regular commercial veneer at 0.024" (less than 1/32" = 0.031).

If forced or stressed into the job. Consider a citrus stripper and then a good wood furniture scraper. You can get scrapers with curves to match the moldings.
Woodcraft Search for scraper

Steve.
Steve, it is a thicker veneer than what would be applied to furniture.

But I am gonna walk away from this one.

Thanks for the input.
 

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That sounds like a bloody awful lot of work!!!!! Why would (or wood) they use veneer on an exterior door anyway knowing it had to be sanded and resanded as the years passed?

HJ

Sounds like it's time to either reveneer or get a good paint brush out.
John, the veneer looks like it is still in good shape. It's mostly being beat up by the setting west sun.

I think they have been re-varnished twice since the church was built in 2001. I think the first time was done by the company who built them under warranty.

But the last time they were done by one of our members who was a master carpenter but has since passed away.
 
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