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Varnishing wood windows - in and out


I am looking for some help if you have a moment, please.
We were lucky to purchase a 'historic' home in the West Adams area of Los Angeles last summer.
Being a student and thus on a tight budget, my wife and I have been able to do a decent amount of work on the home to try to restore it as much as possible.
Had we the resources to hire a company like yours, we'd have done so, however, we can't afford it.
And, I also like to do a lot of this work :-) and get to learn a lot along the way.

We're now at the phase of windows.
My wife saw your www site and mailed me the link.
So, if I can ask a few questions, I would really appreciate your help.

We've used a combination of heat gun [on eBay or Amazon affil link], chemical stripper (Jasco [on eBay or Amazon affil link] epoxy and multiple layer remover), a Makita GV 5000 5 in orbital sander, and a porter cable speedbloc 330 and a 5 inch orbital version model 333, and a craftsman 3x21 belt sander to remove the layers of paint.
I'm giving these details for other suggestions you may have instead of what we've been using.

Anyways, a few rooms of the home have been stripped to the bear wood, and I'm now ready to re-finish them.
I noticed that towards the bottom layer there was a tough layer of either a stain or a sealer/varnish and I'm not sure if we should have stripped that layer off as well. it looked almost impregnated or really absorbed into the wood.
I may have made a mistake by continuing to sand this layer off.

So, can you help me with tips on re-finishing the windows .
we'd like to have a varnished finish, probably with a stain below it to cover up for a few of the Bondo [affil link] / plastic wood patch holes/cracks we've had to fill.

Low odor Mineral Spirits
(12 quarts)

(affil links)

Another www site suggested the following process;
1. strip/sand
2. clean with mineral spirits [on eBay or Amazon affil links]
3. seal with a wood preservative
4. soak with (boiled) linseed oil [affil link]
5. clean and 00 steel wool [on eBay or Amazon affil link] with mineral spirits
6. stain, the first coat a bit diluted to help seal; and then a 2nd coat
7. varnish, again, the first coat diluted with lacquer thinner [on eBay or Amazon affil links] to create a seal; and then add on 2-3 more coats.

However, when I look at minwax's www site, they don't give many details ... and they suggest their own stain and polyurethane, but not the steps listed above.

And, as bad as this sounds, many www sites give great info but no brand-names to go by; which leaves me in the dark.

So, if you could suggest some steps, brand names of materials and a process I should follow, I would be very grateful.

I would really appreciate your help.

Aly Juma
preSchool - Los Angeles, California USA

I am doing my cedar shutters and am puzzled you would consider linseed oil. Why make your own paint?

I am using Sikkens HLS primer followed by Sikkens cetol filter seven.

I chose the above treatment because it is maintainable: that is it only requires a washdown and recoat with filter seven after (in the worst case) 3 "solar seasons".

Check out the website

Don't use polyurethane for outdoors. Polyurethane is not microporous and will eventually blister and peel.

Claudio Ferrero
- Sydney, Australia

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