Varnishing Banister Rails

Postby timster » Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:39 pm

Hi, first post here, so hope someone can help.
I've spent many days stripping the old shallack from the banister rails, spindles etc of my 1930's house. (grim job)

I now have the wood back to a very clean and smooth condition and would like to use a clear, satin varnish on the rails.
Previous experience with varnishes (floor, furntiture etc), has shown that even the so called "crystal clear, non-yellowing" brands... still yellow.

Can anyone recommend a true "non-yellowing" and preferably reasonably quick-drying product ???

I suspect the rails are made of Hemlock.

Thanks in advance
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Simply Build It

Postby thedoctor » Tue Mar 27, 2007 4:12 pm

If you cannot find ( we suggest you try on the underside of the rail to be sure) then you might want to think about oiling or waxing the rail. Its a more natural finish, takes less time and can be repeated over and over to keep a great finish. See the project on timber floor finishes.
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Postby timster » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:52 am

Thanks for your reply.
I agree with the nice finish oil/wax would achieve, in fact I had considered it as I used this method on some furniture.
However, one of my main concerns was that I want a "clear" finish. Oil/was will definitely stain the wood to some degree. Also the junction of the spindles (which will be painted white) would result in the inevitable build-up of the oil/wax... which wouldn't look too great.

My local trade centre have now proved very helpful as we did a spot test on three "clear, satin, acrylic" finishes.
Suprisingly, the Cuprinol Trade product came out clearest with the Dulux Diamon Glaze... the most "yellow". (I'd had two people recommend the Dulux)

I tested a small area last night with the Cuprinol, applied with a cloth.
All seems good, so far :)

Thanks again and hopefully this will save somebody else trying the different brands.
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:34 pm

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