I've lost track of how long this project is really taking.
But, weeks after I started stripping the bathroom door, I finally got the rest of the whitish-yellow enamel out of the nooks and crannies. It was a brutal process, completed in the odd moment I found here and there. Here's the door, without its six coats of paint:
Next step is popping out the window glass so I can get the last bits of paint around the moulding trim. Many of the Web sites I found indicated that it wasn't worth saving the trim, that it would take hours to try, and that they should just be chipped out. What I couldn't find were good instructions on how to save them if I wanted to--I was probably using the wrong search terms, but whatever. We managed to figure something out.
I figured it would be more of a hassle to go out and get new trim and miter cut it to the exact proportions, so I really wanted to try reusing them first. So I took a box cutter with a thin blade and gently ran it along the seam to loosen any adhesive and remaining paint. (The box cutter belonged to my grandfather; I love using his old tools!)
Then I took an old screwdriver and a mallet to very gently separate the trim from the frame. A poor use for a screwdriver, I know, but it worked.
There are three nails holding in each piece, with a glob of some kind of adhesive in the corners. I would need to lift out a piece straight up first before removing the others.
I grabbed Ted, who is always happy to find a new use for his Dremmel, and within seconds he had cut through the nails on one side.
Then, using a spatula to protect the glass, he took the screwdriver and gently worked it along the edge to loosen the trim the rest of the way. It then popped straight up. The others quickly followed suit.
Voila! Half an hour from start to finish, we had the trim pieces and glass removed.
And seconds after that, we had the door flipped over to start stripping the other side. This side of the door has some very beat up, very bubbled and flaking shellac. It comes off very, very well with a dab of stripper. I should be able to sand everything in the next day or so. Maybe I'll actually have the door stained and back in place this time next week. We're all getting a little tired of the screen we're using to "give us some privacy."
The bathroom door was, by far, the worst one in the house as far as paint to be stripped. Every door in the basement (there are eight or nine of them, I forget) has paint, but it's a single layer of gray that comes off easily with a heat gun. There is only one other door in the ground floor unit with paint, and it, too, only looks like it has a coat or two of paint on it--and not the evil enamel. (The bathroom door in the tenant unit is equally offensive as this one was, but I won't be addressing that for years, yet.)
So, in other words, I'm glad I started with the worst of the bunch. Everything else is going to be easy after this.