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This Old Door


Ossining finishing expert Jody Finglas, who’s seen a door or two, knew that this was no ordinary portal. Once the pine door that is almost a century old was gently removed from its hinges, its original lock was sent to London for restoration.

Uncoupled from its past, it had to be stripped, but doors of this vintage are delicate creatures, often dovetailed not nailed. Multiple generations of paint intermingled. Finglas’ solution? “Lay it down, strip it, and determine what product to use,” he says.

Finglas’ team applied a custom mixture of vinegar and other solvents to strip and excise the old paint from the wood.

Then, prime time. Critical choices are made at this juncture: a red-painted door, for example, could nicely reflect a black primer — at the opposite end of the color scheme.

A skim coat of Swedish putty filled cracks and mended deep holes resulting from old hardware.

Next came the finishing touches. Finglas turned to Fine Paints of Europe, a Vermont-based importer of Dutch paints.

Three coats of paint and sanding followed, beginning with 250-grit German sandpaper, graduating to 400-grit at the end. The oil paint was cut by 10 percent with mineral spirits from FPE.

The final result is a dark grey-blue, what Finglas calls  a “historic throwback to the colors of the time.” Dutch paint, German sandpaper, and an Irish painter combining on an all-American entryway.

Photo by Julie Benedetto