Finishing Instructions

General Notes on Finishing:

  1. Before applying the first coat of finish, sand the entire surface lightly with 5/0 sandpaper (180 grit). This is to remove fingerprints and handling marks.
  2. Adjust or alight components if necessary before finishing. Wood panels “float” and may be knocked into alignment with a wood block and hammer. Be careful not to damage door.
  3. After sanding, clean the door thoroughly with a cloth to remove all dust or foreign material. However, avoid using caustic or abrasive cleaners.
  4. All surfaces of the door must be properly finished. The edges (top, bottom and sides) should be coated with each and every coat of finish that is applied to the exterior surface of the door. Doors must be dry before finishing. There can be significant humidity variance in homes from winter to summer and interior millwork will move. Finishing all sides properly protects your doors.
  5. Note: It is the finisher’s responsibility to protect glass prior to and during finishing. If using tape, conduct a test of the tape being used on a small area of the glass before applying to a large surface. After finishing, remove the tape as soon as possible. If the glass has a plastic film protection, removal of the plastic film protection immediately after applying the finish is required. Failure to remove the plastic film at this time may cause harm to the glass and will create difficulty in removing the film at a later time. Do not use razor blades or sharp objects to remove the film or clean the glass. These items will scratch the glass.


All stained products should use a stain controller prior to staining. Some species stain are better than others. Please see individual species for stainmeter.

A good preparation is critical for good results. Sand the door and keep it very clean, use a tack clothe to remove all particulate matter. Apply stain conditioner following manufacturer’s instructions. Stain product and let dry. Finish with 2 or more coats of finish. Interior clear finishes can be varnish, tung/teak oils, lacquers, etc.

  • Varnish – Varnishes are oil and water based. Oil finishes dry slower, and give the finish coat a slight glow in color. Water based varnishes are fast drying and have little to no color and depth.
  • Oils – Oils, like tung and teak, are wipe on finishes. These dry slow and require many coats (4 or more). They typically give an amber color to the finish.
  • Lacquers – Lacquers are fast drying finishes that are durable and give a nice depth and soft color.


Unprimed doors should be primed with a good quality primer followed by two or more top coats of a good quality colvent-base or latex enamel paint.


Best results will include a light sanding and thorough cleaning between coats of paint. Do not skip light sanding after applying the coat of primer. Take care not to sand any glass. Let paint dry between coats. Always use top quality brushes, rollers and paint.

Chalkboard Panel Doors

Breaking in a new Chalkboard door:

  1. Wash the chalkboard daily with cool water for one week.
  2. Wash only a small section at a time, immediately rubbing dry with a lint-free cloth
  3. Repeat until the entire surface of the chalkboard has been washed.
  4. After washing, hold a stick of chalk flat on the board and cover the entire surface.
  5. Erase evenly. The chalkboard is now ready to use.

Maintenance Tips:

  1. Clean erasers frequently.
  2. Use white calk rather than yellow or colored chalk, as the pigments can make them more difficult to erase.
  3. Wash the chalkboard weekly if necessary
  4. Look for high grade chalk (95% chalk with 5% binder), as inferior calk may permanently mark the chalkboard.

Updated on May 14, 2021

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