Staircase Rebuild and Refinish

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Project by Pheirendt posted 05-28-2007 08:36 AM 3615 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The staircase in our 100 year old home was rebuilt in the 1940s and changed considerably including painting it.

When we beagn stripping the Quarter Sawn White Oak (QSWO), we noticed that about 24 balusters and 2 newel posts had been replaced with a different hardwood – we were really disappointed! I found a craftsman in the St Louis area who is known for being able to duplicate balusters – I was heartened, our problem was not quite as unique as I thought.

We disassembled the entire railing system and began stripping, sanding, and refinishing.

On the 100 year old Quarter Sawn White Oak we use a Medium Walnut Tung Oil (hand rubbed) to get the warm tone we like. The newly replicated pieces required some tricky “pre-staining”. When I have to repair or replace the QSWO in our house, I stain it with a Dark Walnut Gel Stain and then sand the majority of the stain away and then use the hand rubbed Medium Walnut Tung Oil (this process darkens the grain to match the old QSWO). We then finish the piece with several coats of varnish.

Can you tell which ones are 100 years old and which ones are brand new?

-- Paul, St Louis, MO,

11 comments so far

View Boaz's profile


18 posts in 4010 days

#1 posted 05-28-2007 08:44 AM

Wow! That looks beautiful!

View Sawhorse's profile


281 posts in 4408 days

#2 posted 05-28-2007 11:17 AM

Awesome job, absolutely beautiful…

-- Sawhorse - Sulphur Springs, TX -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4128 days

#3 posted 05-28-2007 12:39 PM

(love the bookshelf)
can’t tell the difference!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View WayneC's profile


13753 posts in 4065 days

#4 posted 05-28-2007 03:09 PM

This answers my is there other mill work queston. Great work here as well.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4106 days

#5 posted 05-28-2007 04:56 PM

This is an absolutely beautiful job!


View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 4054 days

#6 posted 05-28-2007 05:38 PM

Beautiful…well worth the effort.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4004 days

#7 posted 05-28-2007 10:44 PM

Holy Schmoly! Nice job!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4368 days

#8 posted 05-29-2007 05:50 AM

Great Job. We had a house in Webster Groves. It was built with lumber from the St. Louis Worlds Fair, when the buildings were torn down. So it was built in 1905. Our house also had painted woodwork. The house next door to us still had the original dark Oak stained woodwork. They looked great.

Good job on the restoration.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4214 days

#9 posted 05-30-2007 05:45 PM

Beautiful, it’s like unwrapping a gift. That old qswo is gorgeous. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Joe Heskett's profile

Joe Heskett

23 posts in 3891 days

#10 posted 02-28-2008 01:08 AM


-- Joe Heskett---Illinois

View Randy's profile


62 posts in 3641 days

#11 posted 06-15-2008 01:20 AM


Do you let people ware shoes in your house?

-- If you have gone through a whole day without learning something new, you wasted it.

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