Refinishing The Wood Trim. PART 4.

So, continuing the Great Wood Refinishing Drama!

I think (hope) the drama is now over. I think. I hope.

Today I finished one section:



This is the trim in the living room, and looking into the library (I will never get used to having a house with a library). The library lost all its plaster in 1999, hence the new sheetrock.


I used denatured alcohol to “liquify” the original shellac on all the door trim. You can see the result at the top, horizontal piece of trim.

Then I used one coat of amber shellac on the vertical piece of trim to the right. I did not shellac the base or bottom trim piece.

You can see how the new shellac darkened the trim. Just enough. I think the results look good. Indeed, I am thrilled. In person the trim clearly looks vintage but, well, fresh, too.

Shellac darkens over time. So the VERY dark brown (black in some light) trim I inherited in 2014 does not look like it did in 1894. The VERY dark brown is the result of age and dirt.

And I have many miles of VERY dark brown to renew.

Oh dear.


  1. Betsy on January 4, 2015 at 1:56 am

    It is fabulous- a great resolution to the problem. All of us are giddy with your progress ! Wish was closer so I could come volunteer/help for a couple hours.

  2. Traci on January 4, 2015 at 2:26 am

    It’s beautiful!

    Are any rooms close to being finished?


    • Ross on January 4, 2015 at 2:31 am

      If all goes well, maybe, maybe, the living room, library, and powder room will be done in March. Maybe.

      • Traci on January 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm

        Besides the door trim, painting and floor, what else needs to be done to the library and living room?

        • Ross on January 4, 2015 at 3:31 pm

          Repairing the plaster, and all the new sheetrock work, will be done this week. Whoee!

          Then I have to refinish all the woodwork. This will take all month. If I am lucky.

          Then the floors need to be repaired and refinished. I am crossing my fingers that this will be in February.

          In March will come the shelves for the library.

          And light fixtures will be hung! Whoee! And curtains! Whoee!

  3. Denali Dragonfly "Grace" on January 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    It looks wonderful! I’m so glad I saw the article in the Gazette with the blog URL and now I can follow your progress. I’ve been silently cheering you on for a year now. It’s nice to have a voice that you might hear. G:-)

  4. Traci on January 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Why did the library lose its plaster?

    • Ross on January 4, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      There was a fire in 1999 (boys and girls, NEVER use heat guns on an old house). The fire was on the third floor, and the water destroyed the plaster ceilings below (the sewing room and library), and plaster walls of the library.

  5. Sandra G. McNichol on February 18, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    oh…having a library……it is a dream/fantasy/yearning of mine that I’ve had my entire conscious life. I want one with the ladder on wheels, on a rail, so I can slide up & down & all around my acres of books. I am so happy that you do have a library.

    I love books. I LOVE books.

    I refuse to buy or use or even look at a Kindle – it seems deeply sacrilegious to me. But perhaps it’s just curmudgeonly.

  6. Kevin on May 13, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    If you do decide you like the darker color, you can simply add some oil based artists pigments to achieve a color that is similar…..but I like the look of both.

  7. Caren Harris on December 9, 2015 at 12:15 am

    Love the color…just perfect. Does the library have the hidden panel doors?

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