Even standing on dyed wood. SealCoat?

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Forum topic by Greg posted 09-04-2017 07:38 PM 1421 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Greg's profile


21 posts in 1185 days

09-04-2017 07:38 PM

Hi Folks

My stair railing was constructed of as yet identified type of wood. I’ve stripped and sanded it down as far as I can go, the photo shows the end result before staining. My general thinking is that since I can’t get to a raw wood color, the railing was probably dyed rather than stained.

What I’m looking for is a simple fix to stain this wood in a manner that might even out the light vs dark areas. I’m not looking for visual perfection, but I don’t want to hide the grain entirely so I was considering the following steps.

1. Pre treating with something with a wood conditioner
2. Using a dark walnut gel stain which might be less likely to soak into the darker areas

My thinking is that the wood conditioner might help the less dyed areas absorb color a tiny bit more than the more dyed areas and that I might be able to “work” a gel stain to coat the light areas a little more, also to even out the tone. Does this make any sense?

As stated, I’m happy to end with a “rustic” appearance. Any advice or tips on my thoughts abov would be greatly appreciated. I have received suggestions to bleach or apt dye but any suggestions beyond “wipe in wipe off” might be beyond my skill set.


PS: I have posted on this stair railing before, mostly about stripping and staining. Thought I try my questions anew to see if I could generate some fresh answers but to those who have helped previously, I appreciate your help and will reconcile your answers as well as I move toward some worth of resolution.

2 replies so far

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1720 days

#1 posted 09-07-2017 01:55 AM


It sounds like we have a similar skill set when it comes to finishing woods. Therefore, you may want to disregard some (or all) of my post in favor of others with more knowledge and experience.

My first thought is that it would be great if you could find an area where you could test some finishing protocols. I notice that painter’s tape is protecting the stairs at the floor. Perhaps a section of the painter’s tape could be removed and then that area worked to remove the old finish. If successful, there would be an area that presumably would never be seen and where the method for staining as well as the best color of stain can be discovered.

I agree that applying a seal coat before applying a gel stain would probably keep the stain from penetrating deep into the wood. However, if it is discovered that staining over the sealed wood prevents enough of the stain’s pigment from entering the wood, it could require re-sanding.

If you elect to forego the seal coat and apply gel stain directly to the wood, the gel stain could be applied to areas that require darkening and then immediately wiped away; based on my understanding that stains darken the wood the longer it sets on the wood. If the wood is not dark enough to match the surrounding wood, another layer of gel stain could be similarly applied to further darken the area. Once the colors of the spot-stained areas closely match the surrounding wood, then staining the entire area in an effort to even out the color might achieve the results you are after.

I would be inclined to use a stain rather than a dye so that there could be a little more control of the process of incrementally coloring the wood.

View Greg's profile


21 posts in 1185 days

#2 posted 09-08-2017 05:14 AM

Thanks a lot on this Jbrow; good, common sense advice, I’ll keep you posted on next steps.

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