Service Offerings




Wood Stripping
   Most items are stripped in a tray as opposed to tanks. We have the equipment to "dip" and will use it as is appropriate. However, we believe the "flow-over" system is best for the wood minimizing the chance of damaging fragile veneers and glue joints. All coating removal is done with chemicals, and we use several different formulations to accomplish the objective as quickly as possible. Every item stripped by The Front Gate LLC is also rinsed in a neutralizing solution before returning it to the customer so that it is ready for refinishing (except for appropriate sanding of course).
Wood Repair and Restoration
    It is common to discover after stripping away layers of paint that there is some damage to the wood itself whether by inappropriate cutting, nail holes, or water/rot. The Front Gate LLC uses industry standard epoxies to rebuild rotted wood, and real wood wherever possible to fix other damage. Wood fillers are never used for structural repair; in fact, we only use it for nail hole repair. Wood repairs are made with the same species and wherever possible with similarly aged wood. We believe polyurethane glue to be the glue of choice for all exterior wood projects.  

   Unless there is a reason otherwise, The Front Gate LLC will always remove glass panels from their pockets as part of the stripping process, as well as any "nailed in" moldings. It is our experience that since most wood finishing takes place after the glass panels are installed; the wood pocket was never sealed and therefore creates the potential for finish and wood failure. [Also, almost without exception, old glass panels need to be re-glazed anyway.] We remove loose and nailed-in moldings in order to remove trapped stripper that will damage subsequent finishing efforts and to treat the inevitable water damage behind each piece.  

 Wood Finishing and Refinishing 
   The fundamental principle in The Front Gate LLC's approach to wood finishing is that all wood surfaces must be sealed with the appropriate sealer (interior versus exterior), even those surfaces that are "hidden" (such as the bottom of a door) prior to finishing. Apart from that, there are a myriad of finishing options (some related to coloring, others not), which are available to our customers. We use water-based, and oil-based stains, and even specialty chemicals to color wood. To diminish the "new wood" look of some woods following the stripping process, we use "aging" chemicals to restore the patina, which is lost. Unless our customers request otherwise, our goal is to achieve a "three dimensional" depth of coloration that sets our wood projects apart from most. Our finishing alternatives have everything to do with how the wood item will be used and where it will be used. All of our finishes are solvent-based for longer life. We are particularly sensitive to the matter of "maintaining" the finish since all finishes need to be maintained at some point...our goal is low maintenance and ease of re-application. All finishing work is considered "custom", and color samples are produced, provided, and approved by the customer prior to undertaking the work. 



Restoration Carpentry, Antique Lock Repair & Glass, and Weatherstripping

  The safest and least expensive way to strip architectural wood items is to bring them into our shop. [We can be more thorough and work faster with the use of our professional wood stripping equipment thereby giving you a better product at less cost without the many problems which must be addressed when stripping those same items in the home.] Accordingly, we have a restoration carpenter who can assess the feasibility of removing the items to be stripped and then with your approval remove and reinstall each piece. This allows you to have the items properly sealed and finished before they are reinstalled among other advantages. Our carpenters can also make new moldings and parts for lost or damaged pieces and rebuild sagging door and window frames. The Front Gate also provides hardware restoration and antique lock repair services for the doors and windows it restores. While The Front Gate involves select art glass companies to partner in the restoration of beveled and stained glass and its insulation, we have our own access to a supply of various types of antique glass that may be used in place of standard clear glass for a more authentic look. Finally, The Front Gate has experienced installers of the metal weatherstripping known as “Spring Bronze” and the “brass interlock threshold” that was installed years ago on the doors and windows of many of the older homes in our community. It is an excellent weatherstripping, but many homeowners do not know what it is and how to make sure that it isn’t damaged over time. Sometimes only a simple adjustment is required to fix it, but more often than not, it needs to be replaced to work properly.

Door and Staircase Fabrication
  Despite our best intentions, there are times when we simply cannot restore an old door (or at least it wouldn’t be cost-effective to do so). Alternatively, we get requests to have a new “reproduction” door built when an original cannot be located through the “salvage network”. And when a homeowner learns that we have to disassemble a substantial portion of their home’s staircase to strip and refinish it properly, they are open to discussion about having a new, more substantial or different staircase built in its place. We work with experienced woodworkers that we know who understand wood and are as detail-oriented as we are, so that proper wood finishing can be done in the course of building the door or staircase. [Most of the failure we see of even well-made wood products stems directly from what we refer to as “the just color me” approach to wood finishing. After it is built, it is too late to completely seal the wood.] Customers wishing to have either a door or staircase built should have the design selected; we will handle the measuring.

Retail Sales of Stripping & Finishing Supplies and Equipment
  For those homeowners who want to experience the joys and frustrations of doing their own stripping and finishing, or who are not able to afford to hire us to do the work, we are pleased to offer for sale an assortment of products and supplies to get the job done right and safely. And because not all wood stripping and finishing products were created equally, we’ll even throw in some good old professional advice to help explain why it is best to buy one product over another and set you up with the right equipment for the work you want to tackle. If you need something that we don’t have, we can usually get it within a day or two from our Indiana-based supplier. We have tried many different wood stripping products over the years, and are convinced we have the best product available to non-professionals, and it costs only a few dollars more than the hardware store variety. We even have one product for paint removal and another which works best on clear finishes like polyurethane and varnish. It is strongly recommended that customers wishing to do their own wood stripping at home take our introductory course in the “do’s” and “don’ts” of safe and effective wood stripping. (Course fees are waived with a minimum purchase of stripping chemicals and supplies.) No sense buying the product if you can’t make it work for you! And if you’ve tried to stain wood in the past with Minwax or a similar product, you probably were frustrated that you had to wait so many hours for it to dry before you could begin to put on the finish. With our line of stains, you can re-coat after 45 minutes in most cases! We’ve toyed with the idea of offering beginning level finishing classes to the public, and will move forward in that direction depending on customer interest. Feedback is requested and encouraged!

  Pick Up and Delivery 
   The Front Gate LLC offers pick up and delivery services at a nominal charge. Our preference is that items intended for stripping and refinishing be brought directly to our facility by our customers (saves us both money!). But often this is not possible either because of the size or condition of the items involved. Even more of an issue is how to close up the opening left by the removal of an entry door which needs to be refinished. The Front Gate provides a service to its customers to build a secure and weather-tight temporary enclosure for just such circumstances. Ask for details. We can assist with shipping by freight from outside the greater Indianapolis area.   









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