Lordy Lordy. If I said I was fearless at the start of this project when we started stripping the old finish from the stairs, I was certainly eating my words when I stained them.
I got scared. Real scared.
Everything started off smoothly. The oak banister took the dark Varathane "Kona" stain like a champ.
I seriously didn't know what I was going to do to fix it. The last thing I wanted was to sand them again and start over. Thank god for the Internet, because that is where I learned about General Finishes gel stain. I stopped hyperventilating long enough to place the order. Then naturally, my mind went to worst case scenario land as I waited for it. (As in, we're probably going to have to replace the entire staircase...)
When it arrived, I cautiously tried again. The gel stain is thick, like chocolate pudding. It smelled pleasant. I was hopeful. I used a white sock over a rubber glove on my right hand to wipe it directly on top of the bad stain job. Then I used a clean white rag in my left hand to wipe off the excess a few minutes later. I used a foam brush to get the stain in corners and around the spindles.
To my relief, IT WORKED! Top step, Varathane + General Finishes gel stain. Bottom step, Varathane only. My stairs only needed one coat of General Finishes to even out the finish.
I really love how the dark treads look with the mahogany inlay of our floors downstairs.
Now someone is going to have to paint the spindles and risers.
I call "not it".