Refinishing an Exterior Door

Whether preparing your home for selling or just keeping it in optimal condition, the front door at some point requires attention. Wood entry doors take a beating from rain, sun, and wind causing the finish to wear and discolor. Many times moisture gets under the finish causing the finish to lift, then the moisture damages the wood. Typical damage is mold, mildew, or rot. My daughter’s wood entrance door has additional damage because her cat and dog repeatedly scratch the door which unfortunately has opened the finish for moisture to gain entrance.

The cost associated with replacing a front door is high, making refinishing a wood door a viable and economical option. A quick online search will result in many how to articles and demonstrations on how to refinish a wood entry door. However, as many of my customers have learned the hard way, it is not such a simple process to get a professional quality result. Refinishing an outside door and its trim is best left to a professional refinisher.

Having a professional refinisher like me refinish your entry door is not cheap, but the door won’t look like the result of a DIY weekend project either.

A Broken Bed and a Column in a Local Newspaper

Last month I had an in home appointment to look at a broken bed. The bed belongs to Fil Jessee who writes a column for the Braselton News Today. One evening Fil called and asked if he could interview me for his column. I agreed and so you can read about me and Kim’s Wood Specialties in his “In Focus with Fil” column published April 28, 2010.

Click this link to view online. The column is on page seven.

<Braselton News Today April 24, 2010

How to Repair Furniture

There are many ways to repair furniture. It’s likely that there are as many ways as there are people doing it. There are however only a few ways to do it well. For example, a chair that has loose joints. If the joints are tight (not sloppy loose), then a repair can be as simple as using a product that swells the wood. This makes the chair tight and usable, but it is not a long lasting repair.

The proper procedure is to take the chair apart and clean all the joining surfaces inside of sockets and outside of dowels and tenons, removing any dust or residue. Then applying glue to both surfaces, while clamping all the joints and cleaning any glue that squeezes out and letting it dry. This method lasts for decades.

Other methods that are bad and seldom work are HOT GLUE, LIQUID NALES, SILICONE GLUE, and GORILLA GLUE. These almost always end in a collapse and often break the chair, which requires more extensive and costly repairs. Joints that are sloppy and loose are difficult to repair and are beyond most do-it-yourself woodworkers. This is where people often use gorilla glue. When their repair goes wrong, they bring it to me. Their method and use of the wrong glue makes a hard repair really hard (and the repair more costly).

Easy Answer

With furniture refinishing sometimes there are things that are badly broken; things that are affected by time and the elements, and then there situations that defy reason and make a difficult job really, really difficult. A large government entity once contracted KWS to refinish their wooden benches. These benches were about 14 feet long, and being solid wood were fairly heavy. The challenge, however, was not in the refinishing, but in getting them out of the building.

The benches were on one of the upper floors of the building and the only way out was in the service elevator. The service elevator was quite large with a vertical raising door yet not tall enough to accommodate a bench roughly 14 ft x 3 ft x 2 ½ ft. Well the obvious answer was in the ceiling, or the removing of it. Now most elevators have a removable panel designed for this purpose. Not so this elevator. It had the entire ceiling covered with an expanded metal screen held by a few small welded tacks.

WEHU! this was going to be fairly easy after all. Did I mention that this was a government entity? Yes, and a government building authority that could see absolutely no reason to remove the ceiling screen in the elevator that was specifically made to be easily removed so tall things could get to and from the upper floors. And that was final.

Well I did refinish those benches, I even did it in the time allotted. By now you are wondering how those long benches were removed in order to be repaired, refinished, and returned. Are you ready? They simply had me cut them in half. Are we fortunate or not? GOVERNEMENT always has the answer.

The Hidden Drawer

On another occasion I was asked to refinish a cedar chest. It was not a great piece of furniture and needed a lot of work. In the process of repairing the underside, I found a hidden drawer. In the drawer was an old corn cob doll, some trinkets, and a wedding ring. My wife put them in a bag and when we returned the chest we showed the hidden drawer and the contents we found to the owner. The lady was tearful and ecstatic! As it turned out her mother had Alzheimer’s and hid things. When she went home to be with the Lord, her children searched for her rings and could never find them. They never knew about the hidden drawer.

Hidden antique found through refinishing

Occasionally there is a surprise when repairing or refinishing a piece of furniture. I once refinished a piece of furniture that was in a fire and needed to be refinished. The smoke had permeated the inside of the cabinet and darkened the outside. In order to rid the inside of smoke I had to take it apart. Clean and then seal the interior with finish. In that process I found an old coin that was in perfect condition wedged behind a drawer rail. As it turned out that piece of furniture had been in a fire in San Francisco in 1906 and the coin was minted there in San Francisco around the same time. When I delivered the furniture, I gave the coin to the owners. They told me they had inherited the piece and moved it all over the world. They never knew they had two antiques in the same piece. They were thrilled.