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I'm currently renovating my house and my first project is the doors. I've got some panel doors with very small edges, and I want to keep these edges nice and sharp.

I've put my paint skills to use and made a cross section (not to scale) of the (trim?) of my door. The red corners I want to keep sharp but it's quite easy to accidentally round them and the green corners are difficult to reach.

I can manage quite well by hand but I've got 11 doors like this and am thus looking for tools which will make my life easier. I have got a rotary tool and was looking at sanding cones:

However these are not readily available in the Netherlands nor do i know if it is the best attribute to use.

Some advice as how to best sand this would be appreciated.

Please note that I want to stay clear of chemical removers because scraping away the paint from this seems like a rather tricky thing. So I am mainly looking for sanding tricks which won't wear me out. However, if there is no better way I'll have to try it out.

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    I hate to say this (I harp on about this a lot here) but this sort of issue a prime reason not to sand. Chemical strippers are the #1 way to remove old finish, especially if it has built up thickly which is typical of interior doors in a home. If strippers are not an option, and you can't have the doors done commercially (stripped in a dipping tank) then heat guns would be something to look at before even considering sanding. – Graphus Aug 1 at 16:17
  • @Graphus is right in general about sanding, but having recently stripped decades of lead-based paint and varnish from an exterior panel door, there are just going to be crusty bits in the corners that the stripping process just wasn't able to soften and remove; at least there was for me. I ended up using sanding sponges judiciously, along with careful application of a very small scraper/knife to "pop" some of the crusty out, and round the rest down. – jdv Aug 20 at 20:34
  • @jdv, buildup in corners can be a bear! Out of curiosity, how many times did you strip and what stripper were you using? – Graphus Aug 20 at 21:32
  • @Graphus I used the goopy "wrap it up in plastic, keep it wet" stuff. Maybe the "1850" brand I get here at Home Hardware, or their house brand. I ended up doing two full strips, though by the second time I was weary of the process. I probably should have just spot-treated the panels and crannies a third time. There was a lot of old paint and varnish on this door. I have second door to process like this, so I might have a better technique now. – jdv Aug 21 at 13:22
  • But there were "rolls" of crusty paint build-up where the panels met the moulding, probably from where the paint sagged during the several repaint jobs, that just wouldn't come off with chemicals. I had to knock them off with a small putty knife and then try to sand everything smooth. – jdv Aug 21 at 14:41
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One solution is to get some epoxy putty and press it into the molding you're trying to sand. Depending on the finish you might need some packing tape on the molding to make sure the epoxy doesn't stick to it. You can also add a wood block to the back to give yourself something to hold on to. Once the epoxy has cured use a spray adhesive to attach sandpaper to your new custom sanding block.

If you are willing to spend a bit of money you could also try attaching a (larger) block like this to a pneumatic straight-line sander. I don't think this would really be economical for the quantity you're talking about though.

You can also use spray adhesive to attach sandpaper to anything you think will get in the cracks you're sanding. Some good starters are putty knives, short sections of dowel, wood blocks, or flexible material like plastic from a 2-liter bottle (useful for faring small curves) or very thin plywood (useful for fairing bigger curves.)

There are also pre-made sanding sponges with various angles on them, but they seem rather expensive to me.

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I ended up using chemical strippers, all the sanding options above are good but with the thick layers of paint it was too strenuous. Still had to apply the chemical, strip it and apply it a 2nd time. For the small edges i used a special scraper for corners. I did run into 1 downside to this: i did damage the wood quite allot while scraping away the paint so i did have to do a lot of touchups with spackle. This might be because i was a bit too aggressive on the corners....

Hope this helps others

  • This sounds exactly like my own experience doing this! Once I repaint most of my sins should be hidden. But still. I think I could have stripped 3 or 4 times, and who wants to do that. Now I see why you can send stuff away for dip-stripping in a factory. – jdv Aug 21 at 17:18
  • Thanks for coming back to give us an update – FreeMan Sep 10 at 20:44

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