How to darken/refresh oak banister?


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Old 01-13-07, 07:20 AM
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How to darken/refresh oak banister?

I have recently repainted the entire area surrounding the staircase. It looks beautiful but now the med. finish (30+ year old) oak banister looks very tired and in need of a freshining. I would like to see it in a much darker finish... an espresso or something similar.

It seems in this day and age there is probably a product I could use to achieve this goal short of stripping and sanding the wood down completely? A neighbor said she has added black paint to stain and then painted it on wood furniture for a similar look. Know anything about that technique? Since I want to go much darker and am not really concerned with the grain of the wood showing, I thought this might work. But... I definitely don't want a "painted" look.

FYI - the spindles have been painted white. The stairs are carpeted.

Any help/tips/advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you, Shannon
 
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Old 01-13-07, 03:45 PM
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Your neighbor is correct that adding paint to varnish/poly will darken and change the color of the wood. The clear finish and the paint MUST have the same base. Minwax polyshades is an already tinted poly. It may or may not color the wood as much as you want. Each additional coat will change /color the wood more than the first.

This isn't as easy as it sounds. Drips, runs, lap marks or just plain old uneven coverage will affect the way it looks. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT for tinted poly/varnish to be applied evenly!
 
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Old 01-13-07, 06:29 PM
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The 'Minwax polyshades' I feel, are very good. Ive used them a few times and they cover/stain many a material, incl 'Ikea type' prefinished items..
If you're planning on staining your bannister..and dont want to disturb your white spindles (sounds nice btw...)..just mask/tape off the spindles completely...and surrounding area. This is Not a 'fast job'. It will take time and patience.
You may have to, (as I have done), is to try a few samples of polyshades to find what works for you. If you just use the bit of 'stain' from the underside of the lid for your tests....you can return the unused tins once you've found the 1 that works for you.........
 
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Old 01-14-07, 07:13 AM
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Thanks

Thank you so much for the replies! Tricky part is going to be to find an inconspicuous place to test it out. How is this product applied? I assume I need to sand the banister down first with super fine paper? It is a big project... a curved staircase and then a separate banister running across the loft. I'm ready for a challenge. Any other tips or helpful advice out there before I begin would be appreciated!

Shannon
 
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Old 01-14-07, 01:44 PM
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220 grit sand paper should be fine for what you need. Use a good natural bristle brush - I like the white bristle yatchsmans. Controlling polyshades is easiest with spraying but a good job can be had with a brush. The main thing is to apply even coats, runs drips, lap marks and over brushing are likely to make it look bad. It really isn't as hard as it might sound but it is easy to mess it up - just take your time, do a good job and I'm sure you will be happy with the results.

If you can't paint a test piece on something else - you could wipe it off with a thinner rag while still wet.
 
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Old 01-15-07, 09:40 PM
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I have found that the easiest way to apply poly is with a sponge brush. The ones with the wood handles last longer and you still may use a couple depending on the length of time needed. The sponge brush does not leave brush strokes, is easier to get in and around tight areas and less drips and runs. Good Luck
 
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Old 01-16-07, 08:01 AM
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I'll give both techniques a try. Realized that the old kitchen cabinets now used for storage in the basement are a good thing to practice and get the hang of it on. Do I need to do a good deep-cleaning of the banister first or just the light sandingwiping down good enough?
 
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Old 01-16-07, 08:12 AM
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Any wax or oils from skin needs to be removed, after that a light sanding is all that is needed. I'd use 220 grit sandpaper.
 
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Old 01-16-07, 11:12 AM
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Would a weak solution of TSP work okay for that or just plain old fashioned dish detergent?
 
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Old 01-16-07, 11:21 AM
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Any cleaning solution should work fine - just be sure to rinse off any soap/detergent residue.
 
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Old 01-17-07, 07:29 AM
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Depending on your bannister..there may be 'filets' underneath, between the spindles. You could try that area for a test...
 
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Old 01-30-07, 09:58 AM
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Polyshades Update

I have successfully applied the first coat of Polyshades and it looks awesome!!! After reading so many mixed results, I was scared. The banister looks just beautiful and I am so glad I took the challenge. It will need a 2nd coat to get the depth of color I'm after. No big deal. I would recommend this to anyone as long as they are careful to prepare the area well and take their time doing it. BTW... I used a high quality natural bristle brush and had the best results. I'm not used to using foam brushes and just couldn't get the feel and control I could with the brush.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 02-01-07, 07:45 AM
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Excellent. So glad it worked out for you..and you're pleased with the results.
You owe yourself a pat on the back...
Kudos.
 
 

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