We have an oak staircase that never used to bother me until I happened upon Pinterest and it’s vast array of oh-so-easy DIY projects. At first, I tried something simple like painting our oak fireplace white. Easy peasy. Then I painted our front door black. Pretty simple. Then I saw how a woman transformed her blah oak staircase to a showstopping espresso railing with white spindles and I had to try it for myself. We already had the white spindles. After all, how hard could it be?
Very. VERY! VERY!
The first part was sanding the blasted thing. We have a split staircase as you can see in the picture above so my husband was having a hard time getting into the grooves with the sander. FYI: we started this project in September as a thing we were going to tackle on the weekends. It is now the middle of November and our goal
was is to get it done by Christmas.
So then I tried using some stripper that was recommended by this DIYer. Bad idea. That stuff is goopy and a pain in the rear to scrape off! Then my husband had to sand it all AGAIN.
Finally, I was ready to start staining. Folks, this job is not for the faint of heart. I almost had a panic attack when I saw how fast the stain was dripping down my already-white spindles. It was all I could do to suppress a scream while my three year old napped soundly on the couch downstairs. I quickly grabbed a paper towel, but this stuff was not rubbing off. So, I did what any normal girl with a nail polish collection does, I grabbed my nail polish remover and dabbed some on a cotton ball. Voila! It did the trick. Score one for the novice carpenter.
Sad drippy mark.
This is what it looks like after the first coat of stain. I used Minwax stain and polyurethane in one and the color is espresso. Don’t see the espresso color yet, but I plan to use some steel wool and apply at least one more coat. Who am I kidding? It will be three coats.
Lessons I learned from this experience:
1. Don’t ever do this yourself again. Just rip out the railing and replace it with hired help.
2. Stripper is a big no-no on blonde oak wood. Big waste of time. Just sand.
3. Nail polish remover has many uses. Every carpenter should carry some for spot cleaning spills and drips. Less fumes too! 🙂
This project WILL be done in time for Christmas. I am not a quitter and I will definitely keep you all posted.