Staining stair rail help

Old 10-03-18, 10:53 AM
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Staining stair rail help

Hi all

I just moved into a new house where the previous owner had the staircase railing completely rebuilt and left unfinished. I decided to try stain it myself, even though I've never stained anything before in my life. Bad mistake! I wanted a finish that matches the stairs but as you can see the stain just comes out very red in color. I am using a satin stain+poly, chestnut color (which is the same color as the steps on the tin).

It seems that with each coat it's not getting much darker, well it is a little, but seems the stain is not sinking in all that much. I'm on my 4th coat now and ready to strip it all and start over. I am brushing it on, leaving it for 10 mins then wiping off with a rag. But even now it looks blotchy in parts.

I believe the wood is oak, and it was sanded and untreated before I took a brush to it.

Any help what to do, or what I'm doing wrong is appreciated! I sorta wanted it to look like the 2nd picture attached.

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Last edited by mrl72; 10-03-18 at 11:43 AM.
Old 10-03-18, 07:33 PM
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I am using a satin stain+poly
That's not the right product for your process. Either you use a stain and wipe off the excess after a little while and then follow with poly or you use the product you have and quit wiping it off, as that's what's keeping you from adding color as you're continually removing it.

I would quit using the product you have as it's difficult to get even results with tinted poly. That said, you probably have to strip off what you have and start over.
Old 10-03-18, 07:44 PM
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Wow. This is why most products say "always follow label directions."
Old 10-03-18, 08:01 PM
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Yep, the stain poly mix has screwed you. One it didn't take two, the poly has sealed the wood from taking further stain. Nothing short of stripping this will get it back to possible stainable wood that you can work with. Not a high level of confidence that the results you had in my mind will be positive.
Old 10-04-18, 03:49 AM
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I agree you used the wrong product but what's done is done. While stripping the tinted poly would allow you to start over it would be easier to get a dark tinted poly and continue with what you have. I don't know that an off the shelf tinted poly will get you dark enough. I've mixed a little oil base paint with oil base poly to get the desired color when stain wasn't an option. You'd want to experiment on some scrap wood first [apply your existing chestnut stain/poly first] A lot of care will be needed to make sure it's applied evenly!

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