Natural Wood Finish Experts

Posted by Sam Sundeleaf on Tuesday, February 12, 2013

As a Portland, Oregon painting contractor, I've quite often found Sundeleaf Painting finishing natural wood surfaces. It's a craft we love here. We like to think of ourselves as natural wood finish surface experts, but we don't say that lightly. As craftsman, it took a lot of work to get here and even more to continue offering great natural wood finish work.

In 2010 we did a natural wood finish job that we consider amongst our best work. As the project evolved, I knew it would be the perfect entry for the PIPP (Picture it Painted Professionally) interior painting category for the National PDCA (Painting & Decorating Contractors Association).

This project was unique for a few different reasons.

Before we were called in, we knew it was already a problem project. Most if not all other contractors had recommended woodwork replacement. We were contacted to review the project and give our take on how to fix it. When I arrived and took a look at the woodwork, I was hit with disbelief. Two separate painting contractors had gone through the home and removed paint and finishes, then refinished the project with stain and lacquer. The contractors had used brass wire-stripping brushes (meant only for hardwood) to strip away all of the soft grain out of the soft wood, which was Douglas Fir.

To put this into greater perspective, this was an historic home with old growth lumber. During paint removal or the wood-stripping, the wood became soft due to moisture in the liquid strippers. The wood then deteriorated, leaving a surface that had been sand-blasted. More of a skeleton of a wood profile. The homeowner wanted to keep the original wood because of its historical significance with a local famous architect.

After working on several samples over a two-week period, Sundeleaf Painting came up with a game plan. We decided to re-strip the wood—using professional and proper methods—and then undertake a filling process, as seen in the photos. We developed and cut spatulas to fit the molding details and basically skim-coated all wood back to its original form. (The filler we used for skim-coating was a special wood filler specifically designed for this type of process.) All surfaces were then hand-sanded, conditioned, stained and then protected with a catalyzed clear finish system.

This is just one of the many projects of which we're extremely proud. Every natural wood finish project is different. Old growth Douglas Fir refinishes require different problem-solving skills than new construction using oak, cherry or walnut hickory woodwork. And the recent rend of recycled wood (barns, river beds, etc) presents a whole new set of challenges in bringing out the grain, enhancing the color and protecting the wood. A variety of touches are required in woodwork, not to mention good planning.

And this requires a portfolio of solid wood finishing craftsmanship. To make sure your home's wood finishes are done correctly, be discriminating in your contractor hunt. You don't want any headaches.

If you have any questions on refinishing old woodwork or tackling new work for your home or business, please give Sundeleaf a call or email us.

Sundeleaf Painting, Inc.
2037 SE Ochoco Street
Portland, Oregon 97222
(503) 236-9797

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