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 Post subject: A finish for wood stairs
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:04 pm 
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Hey guys, long time since I've been here, but I'm pleased to see the forum is going strong. Haven't been here because I haven't had much time for woodworking these last few years. But I'm working on a project, and running into a small problem.

I'm replacing the treads on the stairs in my 100+ year old house. The old treads were pine 1x, totally worn out, multiple coats of stain, paint, etc. They have to go. Since it's 10 years ago I bought the house, I finally decided to do the job. using pine veneered treads to match the other woodwork in the house.

Job is going great, and I've got the first few treads installed, but discovered my standard finishing techniques might not be the best choice. I used a pre-stain conditioner, stained, and applied multiple coats of poly. I figure the soft pine needs a hard film finish for protection. Multiple coats of varathane, sanded between coats, and treated the final coat by rubbing out with steel wool and wax, and a final treatment with a beeswax based cream wax.

Finish LOOKS great, very smooth, very slick, very dangerous on a steep, narrow stairway with inadequate handrails. How do I get a great looking finish without the treads being overly slick and creating a fall hazard?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:37 pm 
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You can't. Because the "wet look" requires a smooth surface to reflect light, any finish that is high shine will increase the slip-and-fall hazard.

You're going to have to add a carpet runner or no-slip tread stickers.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:05 pm 
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I would try putting a heavy coat of polly right down the center if each tread (where you step) and leave 2" to 3" on the ends and maybe 1/2" or so at the front and rear of each tread and throw sand into the wet poly for a traction surface after it drys. Trying to get both the wet look and a safety surface at the same time.
Just my 2 cents worth of an idea.

Rog

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:18 pm 
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JAMES PIO: Would "kerfing" the treads work? Saw a 1/32-1/16 deep kerf across the length of the step in the area where the foot would normally land. Rub the kerfed area with matching stain and poly then buff out the whole thing again. The kerfs then act as traction friction spots and do not need anything else save regular maintainence dusting or occasional vacumning to clear debris.

Kerfs could be cut blind at the ends with some stops and start/stop marks or cut with a router and a vee groove bit and a jig or on a table with stops.

Just ideas that hit the synapses, good luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:43 pm 
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As Dennis said, there are a variety of finishes designed for flooring. I have used a product that is sold as gymcoat. or gym seal. Depending on the manufacturer. It is used on gym floors.

The sweedish floor finishes require a liscense to purchase and you have to vacate the house for around 3 days. The gymcoat takes 12 hours to dry, but is ready for use in 24 hours. And the odor is about the same as poly.

Len


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