Old door - what wood

maureeninmdOctober 13, 2011

I just stripped the paint off this door. All of the interior doors are the same, but only this one was painted. House was built in the 1930s. What wood is this?



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks like rotary cut plywood for the panels (often fir).

Not enough grain detail on the frame, but possibly fir also.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There may be something regional at play, but in my area if a door looks like that, it's fir. Nice stripping job, by the way :-)

Karin L

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you both. I suppose these are very common, 30s doors. Do you think they were meant to be painted or were they usually stained? Some of them have a varnish-like substance on them. I plan on leaving them as-is of course, because I am pretty lazy.

Karin - Thanks. I used soygel after reading about it on this forum.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 4:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The house I lived in til I was 6 had doors like this, as did my neighbor's houses. They were fir, and they were shellacked and orangish. Our kitchen cabinets were the same and had dutchmen. The hardware for both was vaguely deco.

(this house was on the market recently and the door were still there and still orange)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My first take when I saw was Fir as well. The grain in the panels match the 5 panel Fir doors in my Bungalow. As a contrary opinion, they are not always painted. All the doors in my bungalow were stained. A significant population of the bungalows in my town have Doug Fir trim and were stained. Wood species in older homes tend to be very regional and redwood and Fir were very common out west.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd agree with fir, since it was quite common in builder's catalogs then...in my area there are a lot of 'rowhouse' apartments built around the 20s, and many have doors like that--every one I've been in has been shellacked/varnished.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am in Maryland. None of the doors is orangey though - they all have a dark stain. They weigh less than they look. I've touched things up successfully with "mahogany" stain. The soygel really lightened this one up.

The french doors leading into the living and dining rooms are different though, as are the exterior doors. I'll get pictures tomorrow so that I may be further enlightened :)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those doors would be Douglas Fir, and were quite often stained as well as painted

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A rather ugly rotary cut plywood veneer on the panels to bother staining.

The figure of the wood is nothing that even appeared in nature until rotary cutting was developed, mainly for plywood manufacture.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would be a bit torn as to what to do with those doors.

Fir does range from the beautiful edge grain that you have on the door frame, the pursuit of which has cost me (and still will cost me) countless hours of paint stripping, to the far less attractive face grain that shows on your panel. Contrary to Brickeeye, I would say that this grain does show up with ordinary cutting - we have several pieces of original moulding that look just like that. Annoyingly, of course it never shows up on all the pieces of a given door or window frame... usually just one of the pieces. So the how-to-finish question hovers forever and that is why we live with a lot of stripped and now totally unfinished fir... while we "decide."

Much depends on whether you are a historical purist or not. I'm not - I love old stuff and old wood, but I mix it up to my preferences. One approach I would consider for a door like yours is putting some nice wallpaper just on the panel. Since that can be removed, it's something that can be reversed or changed at will. Or, pretend it's a french door and put a curtain on it. Much depends, of course, on where it is going to go.

Karin L

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Maureen, you wrote I've touched things up successfully with "mahogany" stain.

Would you please share what sort of product or technique you used to do that?

I have a door with a scratch that is perturbing my husband, and I'd like to figure out how to touch it up.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 6:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The photos comparing plain sliced veneer and rotary cut veneer on this site suggest that you have a rotary cut:

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood veneer cuts

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 7:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All I can say is, I'm extremely impressed with the paint removal job you did. How many hours per side, would you say? Or, how many applications of soy gel. Did one do the trick, or was it multiple go-rounds? I guess it would depend on how many layers of paint there were, but I'm just curious. I just got done stripping a door that had at least 4 layers of paint plus shellac. I was starting to get really philosophical towards the end, like "Gee I could have gone to carpentry school and built a door from scratch in the time it took me to strip this." But it was my first ever job so mabye I was just slow.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Karin - this door is on the upstairs bathroom. Only the inside was painted, which always bothered me.

This house is surrounded by tress and can be sort of dark. So these "ugly" doors do not really stand out as anything other than, well, doors. This house is not that old and is not special in any way.

La koala - It's just stain, miniwax brand, found in the paint aisles of any hardware store. I just slap it on and wipe it off. I'm working on this door today. Then some coats of Poly I think. I am a lazy novice!

Slateberry - Thanks. I think I used the soygel twice, then a third time in the crevices. Maybe I could have gotten away with one but I was impatient, The bottle said to leave it on for a long time, covered in plastic if necessary.

I was anxious to get the door back on but then realized my husband and teenaged sons probably didn't even notice that the door was missing.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 1:39PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need your ideas for a new-old home,...
We are planning to build a home that appears to be...
Rule of thumb on recreating hardwood floors?
I'm recreating the peg and groove oak hardwood floors...
Stripper for stripper-resistant paint?
I'm having a tough time removing multiple layers of...
Dry Rot - Your Opinions, Please
Hello, Everyone... My husband and I are in the process...
stone house
Do any of you out there own a real stone house? Not...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™