Staining Stair Parts, Cont’d…

Day 2 of staining the parts of our new stair system involved a lot of repetitive motion. After the wood stain had completely dried on the stair treads, I coated them all with gloss polyurethane. The poly should be applied in thin, successive coats and allowed to completely dry between coats.

Before applying a new coat, the previous coat of poly should be hand-sanded with 220-grit in the direction of the wood-grain. This light sanding strengthens the bond between coats and helps ensure a smooth, even finish. Use a tack cloth to wipe away the sanding dust before applying the next coat. The poly should be applied to all sides and edges of the stair treads. To achieve a nice, durable finish that will stand up to foot traffic, the treads need a minimum of three coats of polyurethane.

Along with the stair treads, I gave the cherry newel posts from L.J. Smith Stair Systems the same treatment of wood stain and polyurethane finish.

This particular project required two full newel posts plus a half-newel that will be mounted against a wall on the upper stair landing. A half newel is exactly what it sounds like — a stair post split lengthwise down the middle.

Next come the wooden handrails, which get stained and finished to match the treads and posts.

I’ve got a long way to go on this project, so check back here for further updates.

— M. Weber

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