Stairtread remodel

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Forum topic by niftyapple posted 09-28-2015 07:27 PM 580 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 396 days

09-28-2015 07:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question walnut spray gun finishing

So I am seeking advice as a starting wood worker. I am in the middle of making stairtreads and risers for a staircase facelift and had a question about the finish. I will be coating the pieces in Varathanes Poly Floors finish. In an attempt to save myself a little time, what is the potential I can spray the stuff on? I will have to do both sides atleast a portion of the bottoms of the treads, so just trying to cut 8-12 hours of hand finishing. The can says not to thin, is it already thin enough to spray?(forgive me I haven’t opened the can to check consistency yet) Would this be an application where thinning is indeed needed? What is the best thinner to use? Will I have finish issues if this specific finish is sprayed?

Sorry for the 1000 questions, but spraying floor finish isn’t a typical thing you do given that the floor is 99.9% of the time already down.

5 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1939 days

#1 posted 09-28-2015 07:33 PM

I’ve never pushed Varathane through a gun. I think you would have to run high pressures and the pattern might not be to your liking.
Varathane Poly Floor finish, (assuming you are not using the water based formula), is meant to be put on with a brush or pad, to allow it to flow on, or settle as a layer of protection on the wood, not in the wood.

I think spraying it would leave it way too thin. The normal laydown is 2-3 coats as it is, with brush or pad.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

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4 posts in 396 days

#2 posted 09-28-2015 09:19 PM

I went ahead and tried the gun technique because I just couldn’t contain my curiosity. Just like you said, it needs to flow and go on heavy to build a decent layer. I took that tip to the painters table. I turned my pressure up (I have the compressor capable of an HVLP gun) and with no thinner, decently coated a couple pieces of scrap straight out of the bin with an ounce or two.

Now that we are a few hours later, it was looking good. There were a few imperfections in the finish but as far as I could tell it was roughness in the wood from coming straight out of the scrap bin, no sanding done before finishing.

Staging a test #2 is to take one of those pieces and sand out the nubs I could feel with some 150, 220, and finally 320. Same as before a marginally heavy recoat applied.

Expanding the test: I took another piece of scrap and gave it the 80, 150, 220, 320 sanding before applying the first coat since I seemed to have liked the first run of tests.

Will update once it is no longer tacky to touch.

View DrDirt's profile


4143 posts in 3166 days

#3 posted 09-28-2015 09:52 PM

wow – - 320 sanding on bare wood? Why?.... or what wood are the risers?

are you going to do anything on the treads to get some traction?

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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4 posts in 396 days

#4 posted 09-28-2015 10:51 PM

The 320 was thrown in there for 1 of 2 reasons. Yes, 320 is way overkill for 99.9% of woodworking applications. So, because I don’t know of a project/application that I could use the stuff on, why not? I already had it(might have got it for free even). Second part is a reflection of the extremes. First nearly rough as it came out of the tree, and then smooth as a baby’s bottom with finish applied to see how the finish would flow and level.

Just touched the corner to check tac, seems to need just a little longer.

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4 posts in 396 days

#5 posted 09-28-2015 10:56 PM

As far as grip goes, I haven’t really got that far. I was planning on seeing how an unbuffed finish of the stuff would hold up and then to use various cleaners etc on my test sheets.

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