The Cross House

Refinishing The Wood Trim. PART 3.

Two posts previously I was freakin’ out man.

Now I am chillin’, man.

This was my concern two posts previously:


ABOVE: I had started to refinish the trim and ended up with wood WAY lighter than I had intended. So, yea, FREAK OUT!

After some most excellent advice from readers and friends, I did this:


ABOVE: You are looking at three coats of amber shellac, top. The vertical trim piece to the right is still bare (no shellac).

The shellac was effortless. And the trim got darker. I am happy with the look, although suspect it is lighter than it would have been in 1894.

So, no sure thing, yet.

On the door trim to the library (on the adjacent wall), I tried a different technique:


ABOVE: Here, I did not use paint stripper as previously, but denatured alcohol. This did not make the trim as light. Tomorrow I will put on a few coat of shellac. This will darken the trim. And I suspect that the effect will be just right.

If so, a big WHEW.

3 Responses to Refinishing The Wood Trim. PART 3.

  1. It’s really hard to tell because old photography tends to make these old Victorian look darker than they were. For my taste, if I was painting all the walls, I would go dark but with Victorian wallpaper n I would leave it ligher

  2. I’d also think this stuff darkened a LOT over the past century! The most stunning example is our faux-finished front door. It’s faux oak (over larch) and clearly original, very alligatored. The bulk of it has the deep reddish hue you’d expect on such old woodwork. Except the previous tenants had a “Beware of the dog!” sign on that door for the better part of the door’s life. And underneath that sign the finish looks like natural oak, much lighter! Apparently someone applied some kind of varnish over the original finish and that additional (rather thick) coat darkened and yellowed, giving that specific hue. I’ve also seen faux-finished doors with so many layers of shellac and grime that they were almost black! 100+ years of dust, soot from fires, grime from hands, cleaning and refinishing attempts can do just about anything to a finish!

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