Staining mixed wood species


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Old 05-23-17, 04:30 AM
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Staining mixed wood species

I am reworking a small staircase. Small being 3 steps and a few feet of railing. The problem I have is that in the end I will have several different wood species:
  • Railings appear pine already stained
  • Treads are unfinished poplar
  • Landing tread is unfinished red oak

I realize all these have differing grain patterns and will take stain differently. Still, I would like them to look similar. I want a mocha or java look to them. Due to the staining problem I was considering something similar to paint. Maybe even using a kit like Rustoleum Transformations.

I am out of my element here. I would appreciate any ideas.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 05:03 AM
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You could use a different stain on each species to get the coloring close to the same.

I'm not familiar with Rustoleum Transformations but it sounds like it's a type of tinted poly. Generally they are not recommended for floor use because traffic will wear away the coating and the color.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 05:29 AM
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I was afraid of the wear factor. Good point. With the color I need being very dark the grain is barely seen at all. I have a stain I have used on unfinished pine and red oak. Almost undetectable . That could work, except I also have the handrails which have already been finished. I will try the stain on that and see if it will work on that as well.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 05:59 AM
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Stain won't work over sealed wood [varnish/poly] although you can apply a tinted poly like MinWax's Polyshades over finished wood if you can't/won't strip off the existing finish. Polyshades is probably similar to Transformations.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 06:48 AM
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I have used Polyshades before, but never had good results. I know I was just applying it wrong. Do you think I would have the best luck to try removing the previous finish and then staining or try the Polyshades?

I am not against the extra work if the result would be worth it.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 06:54 AM
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Stain needs to be applied to raw wood. Generally the best way to strip the existing finish is to use a chemical stripper and then sand once you've removed 90% of the existing finish with the stripper. Sanding alone takes too long and most will be lulled into thinking they've gotten down to bare wood when they haven't.

Tinted polys can be tricky to apply but when applied correctly can save a good bit of time.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 09:24 AM
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Why poplar? That is generally a painted wood, not one which is stained.

All I can suggest it taking scrap pieces and experimenting with different stains until you get the 'match' you're seeking. Keep in mind, I don't see these pieces ever totally matching if you have any grain showing.
 
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Old 05-23-17, 03:34 PM
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Thanks for the input guys. Worst case I will change out all the wood to be the same.
 
 

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