Steve the stripper

Yeah, that title is a combination of the new nickname that my mother-in-law gave me while video chatting with Rachel last night as she filled her in on my recent tasks, and the fact that I saw the trailer for Magic Mike the other day. Yep, that’s right, a Channing Tatum/Steven Soderbergh movie about a male stripper + stripping of a different kind = Steve the stripper.

Just don’t call me that in public.

We’ve been 90% finished and almost ready to unveil the nursery for the last couple months but there’s been one last job that’s been holding up the final finishing touches in there, and it’s one that I’ve been dreading: rehanging the crooked, damaged, handle-less door and rebuilding part of the interior door jamb (at right below) without having to take the entire door frame apart. Ugh.


Hanging doors are hard enough when the frame is straight. When the frame is as crooked as Congress thanks to 90 years of the house settling, it’s another matter entirely. I’ve been avoiding finishing this job for a couple months.


Complicating matters is the fact I strongly suspect this isn’t the original door as I think the old one was kicked off the hinges at some point (which is what destroyed the jamb). The original door wouldn’t have a normal round door handle slot and small bolt area in the side — it would be a little different for the old door handle and lock set found in the rest of the house.

It’s been painted too many times with crappy paint with all the skill of a 3-year old with a brush in hand. Read: brushstrokes going in every possible direction with crap semi-gloss paint.

So yesterday, I took it off the hinges with the plan to rehang it, but I got distracted by starting to strip it instead — which I was going to do after getting it rehung. After all, I can strip it in the basement anytime, even after we have a kid around.

That should tell you how much I’m dreading the actual rehanging of the door — I chose to start the tedious, mind-numbing and fingertip-deadening process of stripping the door rather than rehanging it first.

Here’s how the entire door looked before starting.

nursery door before stripping

As with all other stripping projects around the house, it takes just a bit to find the right tools and process. This door only had a few coats of latex on the original varnish or brown paint underneath, so the easiest process turned out to be: 1) Carbide pull scraper to take off the latex and as much brown varnish as possible 2) quick heat gun on the panels where the scraper couldn’t get the brown junk off entirely (to make sanding quicker), and then 3) orbital sander with 80-grit discs to get it down to bare wood.

Since I’m going to repaint and not stain it, the moulding in the corners doesn’t need to be stripped down — it doesn’t look globby or rough like the casing around the windows in the nursery. Painting over it will look just fine. It’s really the broad, flat areas of the door that looked the worse, due to the lazy painting method of which Mr. Miyagi would not approve.

After about two hours of work and four sanding discs on Memorial Day, here’s how it looked this morning.

Nursery door after stripping

Not bad. Figure one more night this week and I’ll have the other side done too and be ready to prime and repaint.

And then I’ll be fresh out of other jobs to help me procrastinate on actually hanging the door. Yikes. More to come on that, including some comically bad repair work I discovered the last time this door was hung.

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