So, we recently had 4T Door install our 3 beautiful, wood garage doors.  We are extremely pleased!  We have a new front door currently being constructed (to match the garage doors) and we have a color selected to paint the small stucco area around the windows and door.  However, I made the mistake of searching Pinterest (Trent would give anything for me to delete that app) for the support arches (corbels).  I found a pic of some beautiful wood arches that matched the garage doors and instantly thought, “how hard can it be to strip them and stain them to match?”  Hard, friends.  Very hard.  In this case, actually impossible.  I wasted spent an entire weekend trying various items (different concoctions to strip the paint, sanding, pressure washing, you name it).


 In the end, I learned that when a piece of wood is soaked in creosote, it’s not coming off.  I also learned exactly how terrible creosote is.


Long story short: We are having a friend (who happens to be a genius with wood) re-build new arches.  The problem now is how enormous the wood is.  Turns out, you can hardly even buy wood this big (actually, you can’t).  I can hardly wait to have a true before/after photo to show you…but it’s going to be a little more of a wait.


  • May 21, 2015 Reply

    Gail G

    I saw a show on PBS about restoring a clipper ship. In order to get logs big enough to cut the pieces for the keel they had to petition the King of Denmark to cut some trees in his Royal Forest. Sometimes they recover 150 year old sunken timber from Lake Superior (very large logs preserved by the cold water) and sell them for a lot of money. The doors look very nice.

  • May 21, 2015 Reply

    Ed Thompson


    First I want to say how wonderful it is that someone like yourself is saving the pride and craftsmanship that went into this home. I work for the railroad and they use creosote on the ties and your right its nasty stuff. But would like to mention a couple things that may help you out. One they should never rot in the place they are now, second they should not shed much of there “yuck” of the creosote on the walls like that, and last if you remove them there is no great way to safety despose of them ( at least if they stay in place you know they didn’t get burned or buried and into ground water). For me aesthetically Its period and function was more important then appearance ( even though i think its awesome that they still took time to add all that detail). We looked at the house also and it was more then we could do at this time so once again I’m so glad to see it in great hands and hearts and not a corporation looking for a tax right off. Keep up the good work and stay strong!

  • May 21, 2015 Reply


    They can glue pieces of wood together to make the pieces you need. If done correctly it can be better than a solid piece.

  • May 21, 2015 Reply


    There are some master painters out there who could use paint to get the desired look and effect you are going after. I’ve seen this done on HGTV. That way you would not need to replace them. And you could use that cash to move on to something else. I am enjoying watching your project.

  • May 21, 2015 Reply


    I happen to love their current state and wondered why you would even consider redoing them? To me this is a period appropriate way for them to be treated. Maybe up close they do not look as good as their picture…..and I bet there is a smell????? I would bet this is the way they were when installed, right? I do not doubt your ambition but was wondering how you could possible remove all of that! I vote to keep them as they are…..unless they are not original to the design. I would put my pennies elsewhere!

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