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Anonymous

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Could anyone please advise me what is a good finish for a staircase Hand rail i was thinking along the lines of wax purely for the next time i decorate it will be easily applied to the side closest to the wall but is this practical? Any recomendations will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
Derek.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Derek, the problem with pure wax is that it offers little or no protection against water ingress and dirt. The water ingress might not be too much of a problem on a staircase handrail, but you never know, but the constant rubbing of grimy sweaty hands will probably lead to a dirty grubby look.


People often erroneously blame varnish for a plasticky thick look. It can look that way, but it's usually the fault of the person applying the varnish than the fault of the varnish itself. If you don't prepare the wood surface properly and then slap it on thick, leave sags, fat edges, runs and curtains, over-brush and leave a trail of bubbles, yes varnish does look a mess. Apply it correctly and it looks very fine.

Either water based varnish or short oil based interior varnish will provide a good durable protective film over banister rails. Apply a couple of coats of gloss followed up by a coat of the sheen you require to reduce the the tendency of a cloudy finish to form. You can create custom sheens by adding a portion of a matte finish of the same type to your gloss. For instance, I find making a mix around the numbers 5-15% matte varnish to 85- 95% gloss varnish makes an attractive semi-gloss.

I have a preference for oil based varnishes because I've never yet found a water based polish (including varnish) that I've found completely satisfactory on all the counts important to me. Slainte.
 

Keith Smith

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I fitted a staircase in an old cottage last year and the customer wanted a wax finish. I gave it 3 coats of Danish oil then waxed it and it looked very nice.

I got called back a few weeks later and what a mess, the husband was a mechanic and the small amounts of engine oil on his hands had blackened all the handrail.

Took me 3 days to refinish the staircase, this time with polyurethane varnish.

I usually thin the varnish 50-50 and apply with a rubber IMHO this gives an excellent finish.

Keith
 
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Anonymous

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The problem i will have is when i come to decorate next time i will find it difficult to get a brush to the side of the rail closest to the wall so would anyone recommend wipe on poly.

Cheers,
Derek.
 

Alf

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At the risk of a collective groan, dare I murmur Patina? :? Pretty resistant to everything including nuclear strike (probably), wipe-on - well rub-on-really-hard anyway. 'Tis just a thought. A search in the archives will find info on it.

Cheers, Alf

Thinking two things; one, why do I post possible solutions on finishing when I know nothing about it, and two, why haven't I organised sales commission for you-know-what... :roll:
 
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Anonymous

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After reading all your posts and takeing the info on board i decided to go with a danish oil wooddye mix for the first coat and the results are i think excellent, i have never used oils before or wood dyes so this is my first time and i am over the moon with the results its something i will definately be considering in the future.

Cheers,
Derek.
 
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