A sliding barn door saga: Sanding

Now that we’ve deemed the guest bathroom project complete, we’re determined to tie up a few unfinished projects. Last October I found several inspiration pictures of sliding barn doors and decided I wanted to do that in our master bedroom between the bedroom and closet. 

We found the track and hardware at our local Do It Best store for under $100 and found a door at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for $60. We were so excited to have all the pieces and get started on the project. But fast forward 10 months later…and the track and door are still sitting untouched in our garage. Well, that’s about to change!

The master bedroom was one of our first projects. We scraped and painted the ceilings and repainted the walls and all the trim. Now it’s ready for this doorway to be framed and the door to be hung.

Last night we finally got up the nerve (or found the motivation, maybe?) to work on the door. We like that the door is obviously a “found” item, not something we purchased new, so we didn’t want to strip it of all it’s character. Since it’s a fairly similar color to our wood floors, though, we do want to restain it. We removed the old hinges since it won’t be needing them, and then Andrew set it up on 2 sawhorses in our driveway and sanded it with a very fine grit sandpaper. Note the protective gear…continuous exposure to power tools can contribute to hearing loss later in life, so props to Andrew for protecting his hearing.

If the door had ever been stained before, there wasn’t really any evidence of it so it didn’t need much sanding. But we were still amazed at how much just a light sanding brought out the grain of the wood.  Here’s an close-up of the before. You can see some of the grain, but it was kind of “hazy” looking.

After it was sanded, you could really see how beautiful and intricate the grain was. It also made the door less red and almost the exact color of our floors, reinforcing that staining is the right choice.

We’re going to use a Rustoleum Dark Walnut stain, but after testing it out on this edge of the door, I think we’ll need two coats to make it contrast enough with the wood floors. I’m also nervous it might turn out too red. The dark walnut stain itself doesn’t really have red tones (hence why we chose it), but the door obviously does. We shall see.

We decided to leave the holes from the hinges and other holes that were already in the door. If we were painting it, we would definitely fill them, but the “stainable” wood filler just doesn’t hold as much stain as the wood, possibly making the holes even more noticeable. Besides, as I mentioned we want to make sure this door retains its character. We don’t want to cover it all up. This is hard for me to say, but it’s not supposed to be perfect (gasp!). Ugh, I said it. NOT perfect…as in we’re aiming for imperfect.

Maybe the staining will commence tonight? Or maybe not. Either way, gotta keep the momentum on this project so it doesn’t turn into a 6 month long ordeal like our bathroom! Wish us luck!


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