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Starting a new thread just about stain on stairs.

13 years ago

I threw too many things out on old thread about newels, and got OT carrying on a conversation with justgotabeme (Becky, go back and read that since I asked about DS).

Here is the dilemma. I have (radiata) pine trim and doors stained Hoeny Maple. Brazilian Cherry DR floor. Oak treads on stairs open to DR and foyer. Golden oak DR furniture (and kitchen cabinets). But the stringer and risers are Southern yellow pine. I did finish the exposed DR side of the stringer, and the bottom riser, before the DR floor was installed - they're very light (don't remember if I even tried to stain them or just poly'd). Boiled linseed oil and beeswax on the treads - that did not turn out to hold up well to traffic so I'll have to try to strip it off and poly or Waterlox them some time when I can keep people off for a week (like right b4 vacation at Tgiving?). I'm also concerned that going darker on treads will make the gouges the builder put in look worse - or will they blend better? They got darker when I waxed them, I sanded them as much as I dared (you can see one on the right hand edge of the tread under the Honey Maple boards I propped against the riser here - the top of the tread is worse than the edge).


So, we're finally installing a railing and newel posts - red oak. How should I (re)finish the risers and treads, and should I go with contrasting stain (reddish brown cherry to match floor?) on the rail and newels? Should the rosettes match the treads or the rail (assuming they end up different colors)? Is it OK to leave the risers/stringers lighter to match the honey pine baseboard, and go darker with the oak pieces?

My real big worry is that I will stain the railing and newels dark to match the BC floor, and then never be able to get the treads to match, and end up with 3 wood tones on the stairs. I think 2-tone may look OK, but not 3. I'm not sure I could get the pine risers to stain as dark (without looking blotchy and muddy) as the floor. So, do I take the easy way out and just leave the pine natural (or Honey Maple stain) and the oak natural (Natural stain on red oak)?

Stairs now - waxed oak treads, unstained pine risers/stringer, 1 coat of natural stain on oak railing and rosettes (ignore the block of cedar supporting the bottom return and the unstained oak rail return butting into it - 13 ft of stained oak wasn't long enough, had to add a small piece)


Closeup of "finished" (clear satin poly, I can't remember if I tried Honey Maple stain here) stringer on DR side

"Finished" bottom riser (with shoe that really didn't take stain - I did put 2 coats of gel stain on it! Didn't take and it blends into the riser, so I guess I never stained the riser)


Here's what it *might* look like if the yellow pine takes the stain like the radiata pine did


Here is a section of oak rail stained with cherry stain - think I got the floor color (or will after poly/varnish)!



Our newels


Dark rail simulating newel on waxed tread (ignore end grain on stringer - we will cover with molding stained the Honey color)


Cherry stain rail vs Natural stain rail


Dark rail against wall color (really, it's Sage! not blue) and natural stained rosette


DR furniture


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