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Restoring interior window finish


cleocleo's Avatar
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MA

05-25-15, 04:25 PM   #1  
Restoring interior window finish

I'm in the process of restoring a bunch of double hung windows from the 1920's. Some of the windows aren't painted on the inside and have a clear finish - not sure what it is. Parts of the wood still have a good coating, while other sections don't have much and have turned a darker color. Not really sure how to best approach this. Any recommendations on how to restore this finish?

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marksr's Avatar
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05-26-15, 03:26 AM   #2  
Welcome to the forums!

If you just want to paint them, that's easy - a light sanding and a coat of oil base primer will get them ready for your choice of paint. To keep them natural or stained is a lot harder task. It will involve sanding and probably the use of wood bleach [not household bleach] How well it comes out will depend both on how much effort you put into it and how badly the wood has stained from lack of maintenance.


retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

 
calvert's Avatar
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05-26-15, 04:12 AM   #3  
It appears you are in MA. I'm assuming these windows have a storm window as well. The stains are related to moisture breaching the finish and getting somewhat trapped . To get to a totally uniform look you would generally have to strip to bare wood and remove the stains by, as marksr stated, using oxalic acid (wood bleach) and sanding.

You can probably get close enough to acceptable by removing what can easily scrape and sand off and then applying a pigmented varnish of a slightly darker look than what you now have.

If you get frost build-up on the glass in winter then you will have to be vigilant about keeping the frame from staying wet as you will again be dealing with the issue. The pigmented varnish will also help minimize degradation of the finish from UV light.

This is not a " once and done" approach. You have to keep up with inspecting the surfaces and doing routine touch up work.

You may also want to review weatherstripping details and install new materials to help prevent air loss .

 
cleocleo's Avatar
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05-26-15, 12:19 PM   #4  
Thanks, I'll give the wood bleach a try - didn't know there was such a thing! I'm going to try using chemical stripper for the detailed parts of the window and sand the rest prior to bleaching.

How do I go about finding pigmented varnish? Is this something I need to mix on my own (clear varnish + oil stain)?

Should the varnish be applied directly to the sanded raw wood, or does it need to be treated in any way?

 
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05-26-15, 12:31 PM   #5  
Paint stores can tint varnish although I normally tint my own. Minwax PolyShades is a tinted poly that comes in various tints right off of the shelf.


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XSleeper's Avatar
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05-26-15, 05:34 PM   #6  
I would almost guarantee that no matter how much bleach or oxalic acid you use, this wood (bottom picture, mainly) will remain stained. You will go through a lot of sanding and effort to come to the same conclusion. It may look "better" than it does now, but I really doubt you will get it all out. A dark stain and/or tinted finish would be your best bet.

 
cleocleo's Avatar
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06-08-15, 05:34 AM   #7  
Thanks for all the tips. Here's how it turned out. Ended up sanding and then using a dark stain and then some coats of poly.

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06-08-15, 05:40 AM   #8  
Looks good about the same color as the woodwork in my bed rm


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