About A Door



What is the longest amount of time that you have spent on a project?

I ask, because usually, I'm pretty goal oriented, and can estimate the length of time a particular project will take from concept to completion.

Well, not so much with this project...

Exactly one-million days ago (alright, maybe not quit that long), I began the process of stripping paint from two, old doors.



I posted about it, back in March 2015, and since then, it has been one of our most visited blog posts. Hot topic apparently! You can see that original post here.





The goal: Repurpose two old doors, to be used as pocket doors, separating the kitchen and dining room.

Truth be told, I'd never stripped anything before. But John was super busy with 100 other real projects, like installing a brand new kitchen, so I decided to make these doors my masterpiece. 

The doors were salvaged from my parents barn (aka free), originally saved from an old estate house in Shrewsbury. Though matching is design, one door had been painted, and the other had simply dulled with time. 

The stripping process started with a suggestion from John's cousins in CT to use Soy Gel.

A natural product, Soy Gel was odorless and safe on just about every surface. I figured this was an easy, novice first attempt.

John's cousins raved about their success, and about how wonderfully such a natural product could produce such great results.

Admiringly hard work, they said it was all worth it, and had stripped a dining room's worth of wood. That's a lot of wood. I was sold. 

I buy the Soy Gel, and get to work.


But after two, separate applications, success is not looking good. I buy more Soy Gel, and try again, for a third attempt.

Then, I do more research, change my tactics, tweek the system adding plastic to cover the surface. Attempt #4. I'm 150% confused.

What was I doing wrong? How could their success be so different from mine. I'm defeated...

Looking back, the issues were likely due to my working conditions. Content did not yet have heat, and the cold temperatures in February and March were working against me/the Soy Gel.

I gave up. I admit it. I gave up, and started looking into buying new doors. Can you blame me? Learning a new still is one thing, but attempting to learn a skill and being totally bad at it is another. 

Fast forward to the kitchen fireplace in early April 2015. With the doors weighing heavily on my DIY ego, I turned my attention to rehabbing our fire engine red disaster.

That seems like a small attainable project. Dummy!




I begin to research other paint stripping techniques, besides Soy Gel, and my father raved about a French product that used wax paper as part of the process. Unfortunately, he had no recollection of the name. Humm, back to the Internet.

After a few quick searches, I was pleasantly surprised to find Peel Away and immediately bought a lifetime supply from Amazon. I'm was off and running thanks to 2-day shipping.

Peel Away turned out to be everything I'd hoped for and more. Though requiring copious amounts of water to flush the surface, the results were more my speed (immediate) and the fireplace looked awesome!

With a sense of renewed vigor, I'm back to the doors! I easily finish stripping them, and then they go into a strange "door purgatory" for the next year and a half.







Not yet pretty enough to be hung, but certainly not bad enough to be thrown away.

And all this time, we're (John's) moving them absolutely everywhere around the house, except for where they should be, hanging between the new kitchen and the dining room.

John finishes the entire kitchen install, and still, these doors continue to be a thorn in my side.

This is getting embarrassing...

Sometime this past fall, I decide to sand them, and now, June 2016, one year and three months since beginning this door rehab project, I'm actually finishing them.



The number one decisions keeping me from finishing: what color to paint them?

For months, I proclaimed I was staining them brown. Then, there was a month or two I insisted they were to be painted white, to match the trim. Then there were months that I forgot it was even my responsibility to make a decision, until John would casually say, "hey, what color are you gunna paint those kitchen doors?"

But then, one sunny morning last weekend, I went in the exact opposite direction of all my previous options, and decided to paint them matte black.




They're still not hung, and I have to figure out a brass detail to cover the old door knob holes (no need for them as a pocket door) BUT, after all this time, I'm finally considering this new skill + project 95% successful.

I'll save the last 5% to completion for John to hang them. Jeeze, hurry up man.....


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