Repairing weatherbeaten door requires talent

Advanced do-it-yourselfers can save a ton of money

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Q: The gumwood veneer of our west-facing front door is cracked and peeling. It's the original solid wood door on a 1924 San Francisco home. The previous owners painted the door, but the veneer and filled cracks split and peeled anyway; lots of rain, moisture and sun hit this door. We stripped, sanded, patched, stained and applied polyurethane to the door with the same results. We would still like a stained--rather than painted--door. We now believe we should remove the entire veneer and apply a new one instead of repainting or replacing the door. More than one contractor has recommended a new door, but it's custom work that could cost several thousand dollars. We are very handy, aggressive do-it-yourselfers, but have never attempted this type of project before. What do you advise (or are we crazy to consider this a do-it-yourself project)? A: No, we don't think you're crazy for tackling the job. This is the perfect advanced do-it-yourself project. It's labor intensive and doesn't requi...