Vintage mahogany doors refinished to their original beauty and richness add a great deal of appeal to a home's entrance. The wood doors found in older homes are generally made of solid wood instead of a veneered surface. Time and weather can diminish their appearance and eventually render them unusable unless the door is refinished and sealed. Mahogany doors can also be purchased from salvage yards and flea markets.
Preparing the Door for Refinishing
Remove all hardware from the door. The hardware can be cleaned and reused if desired. Keep all parts of the hardware together in a bin or tub.
Removal of Old Finish
Two methods of removing the finish are using a stripper or sanding away the old finish. Stripping takes longer and the door will still require sanding.
Brush the stripper on the surface of the door and allow it to work to raise the old finish off the wood. Remove the stripper with scrapers and rags. Allow the door to completely dry before the sanding process can begin.
Removing the old finish from mahogany doors by sanding is faster, eliminating the drying time required by strippers. Begin with a coarse grit of sandpaper (80 grit) mounted in a random orbital sander to remove the finish off all flat areas of the door. Sand carved and raised areas by hand. Sanding sponges work well for the carved areas. Sand these areas carefully to avoid damaging the detail of the carving. Scrapers and sanding blocks make removing the last remnants of finish easier.
Sand the door using progressively finer grits of sandpaper to remove all the old finish, completely smoothing the wood.
Applying New Finish
Seal the door's edges with an oil-based varnish or polyurethane finish and re-hang the door. Apply two or three coats of the finish, brushing with the grain of the mahogany. Use a high-quality brush to apply the finish and lightly sand between coats if recommended by the instructions on the container.
Finish can also be applied with a paint sprayer.
Re-install the hardware to the door.
Caring for the Refinished Mahogany Door
Lightly sand the door every two or three years and apply two coats of finish. This prevents damage from the elements getting into the wood and ruining the finish.