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Finishing an unfinished ash veneer door

Hi what is the process of finishing an unfinished door - does it just need a water based varnish? If I wanted to apply a stain should I do this before the varnish and can you recommend any brands that are good for veneer? Do doors need to be stained/varnished before they are hung? Thanks

4 Answers from MyBuilder Carpenters & Joiners

Best Answer

Hi there,

Yes you can apply a water varnish directly to your door after sanding the veneer surfaces (grit 240-320). Make sure to vacuum or air blow the wood dust from the surfaces before applying the varnish or lacquer coat.

Wood stain (water based in your case) must be applied - after sanding - directly on the veneer surface and before applying your varnish coat. Otherwise the stain won’t be absorbed into the wood surface. Let it dry according to the product’s direction of use. You may want to lightly sand again (grit 400 or Steel Wood) as the product will raise the wood grain once the stain has dried (invisible but you would feel it with you hand).

The best known public finishing brand I can recommend would be LIBERON. Otherwise MORRELLS, but for trades only.

I would certainely advise to work on the finish phase with your door unmounted, flat on trestles, to make your life easier and spare you some mess!

I hope that helps.

All the best,
Timber Tailors London


Answered 13th Nov 2019

Hi there,

First step is to take off the doors if they hang, remove all hinges/handles, and as Timber Tailors mentioned it, lay them flat on trestles. Give it a sand-over before apply anything (you can already have some finger marks on the untreated veneer. Do this with 240-320 grit sandpaper, and make sure that the dust is blown off before staining.
Stain gets applied before varnish, make sure you cover it evenly, and remove any excess with a clean cloth. See product’s direction for drying time.
After staining and adequate time, you are ready for varnishing. Same process as staining, work it into the surface evenly, wait 5-10 mins for the varnish to sink in and take off any excess with a cloth, or some merchants sell special polishing pads (Festool has got a brilliant oiling kit for example).
You can repeat the varnishing process multiple times if you want the layer to build up more, gives you different shine level, and more protection…
We use Morells and Osmo.
I hope it helps you in your project.

Dexes Bespoke Furniture


Answered 18th Nov 2019

Hi i would not use water based varnish,it could lift the grain.
I my self would wax stain .you apply with a cloth 2 coats
You will have to rub down with steel wool
Regards Ally


Answered 22nd Nov 2019

I don't nessacerly agree with the the answers I've seen where veneered engineered doors are concerned regarding finish there is a manufactures specification that comeswith most quality doors and i would suggest that you adhere to what they reccomend as it can save problems in the future. However i don't see a problem with hanging the door first. Kind regards Michael j constable services.


Answered 29th Nov 2019

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