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Greenleaf staircases in general


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I am beginning to put together my Pierce staircase.  I am currently finishing cutting out and sanding.  What I would like to do is paint the main body of the staircase gloss white and the treads stained.  I quite like the idea of a round handrail which I would also stain.  I have a piece of round dowel which may work if I make a groove and slide it on top.  My problem is that the treads have been punched out of two different colours of wood.  If I use a coloured stain would this stain the different coloured woods evenly?

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I'd test it on some scrap pieces, but if you are planing a really dark stain like dark walnut or ebony, you probably won't be able to see a difference.

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I was hoping for a more honey coloured stain like our native rimu...   I was going to add a picture but can't figure out how!

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It will depend on the wood, but you might try layering stain colors. I've done this with a lot of success to get different depths and colors depending on the underlying wood. But again, I'd do a bunch of testing on scrap pieces (and I take notes of what I'm doing so that I can reproduce it later.)

Of course, the alternative is to do small veneer overlays on the treads in your wood of choice so that they will all be the same.

Good luck with your project :)

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I have found it helps to even the stain out by pretreating it with Minwax Pre stain Wood conditioner. There is an oil base and a water base version. I've only used the oil so I can't speak to the quality of the water based one. It helps to prevent streaks and blotches and general unevenness. I usually do a couple applications of it if I'm concerned about the quality of a piece of wood.

 

Holly uses the iron on veneer strips that come in a roll at the big box stores. It's paintable and stainable. It could be cut with scissors and applied to the treads. That might insure the evenness you are looking for.

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I did consider using veneer but feel it might just be too finicky for a beginner!  I haven't seen the rolls of veneer in any shops here in NZ.  The closest is a sticky backed wood coloured plasticy paper.  I am trying different shades of stain using chalk pastels and mod podge.  Quite interesting the different colours you can achieve!  Plus what you put over the top to seal the wood makes a difference!

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You might find the rolls of veneer where they build cabinets and counters. It is real wood not the vinyl/plastic stuff. You can cut it up to make flooring strips as well. I looked online under NZ wood suppliers and it appears that it is available but I have no idea what is close to where you live. Do you ever order off an Ebay account based in NZ? The rolls appear to be available on there as well.

 

You can put a very light sealer on first so the stain doesn't penetrate as deeply. That might help you stay on the lighter side of the color range.

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I'm noticing some color variation in the rimu in the picture.  If you can't achieve the color you want with the wood in the kit Ill give you a hint.  When I had a Pierce to rehab (it had originally been built with hot glue) it had no stairs; another member traced the punchouts from their kit's stairs and I used those to make patterns to replace the stairs.  Although the Pierce wound up getting destroyed during our move three years ago I'll tell you that I used the cardboard from another built kit's box for the stringers and I made my treads and risers from craft sticks, which all stained the same.  I sealed the cardboard and papered it, and trimmed the stringers with stripwood to reinforce them.  I made balusters from wooden cocktail picks and stripwood for the banister.

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Selkie - I have plain veneer that I got off the NZ auction site.  We frequently buy off Ebay and from overseas so don't have a problem with that.  I was thinking about using the regular veneer for the flooring - I'll have to have a play around with it to see how useable it is.  I will have a look for the iron on stuff though - sounds like it may be easier to use.  I have worked hard on the stairs today.  I ended up creating a stain using mod podge and chalk pastels.  I love the effect that it has given the wood - doesn't look much like rimu but oh well!  I have given them a coat of polyurethane this evening and will give another coat tomorrow before I go out.  The rest of the staircase has been punched out but I haven't sanded it as yet.  I'll give them a coat of primer and then I have a spray white gloss that I will finish those off with.  I'm having fun!!!

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Rebecca, your experiments are paying off. :thumb:

 

It's difficult to tell from the photo, but are you using a glossy finish polyurethane? If so, you may want to consider using a satin finish instead. In miniature, glossy surfaces tend to reflect light and show off even minor surface irregularities. The satin finish is more forgiving. It isn't as reflective and provides a smoother looking surface.

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I use a bead of tacky glue to set the veneer "boards" where I want them and then iron them in place with my iron at its highest setting.  I have also scribed floors directly into the plywood:

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If I don't like a particular set of treads, I use paint stirrer sticks and cut new ones. Then you don't see the layers of the plywood and they are all uniform in color for staining. And you can usually get them for free at any hardware store. :)

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Rebecca have you looked at the stains we can get in NZ that are meant to look like native wood? I have one that's a combination stain and varnish and emulates rimu, of course you don't get the natural variations unless the wood does.

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Helen - I did go to Hammer hardware (it's your local) to get the gloss polyurethane, and I looked at the stains there.  I love the idea however of playing and experimenting and crafting - not just going out and buying.  I want to enjoy the whole build and decoration bit by bit rather than building the house in order to get to the fun part.  My daughter told me about the mod podge and chalk pastel staining technique - she has seen it on Youtube.

The treads have come out like a walnut colour.  I've just put a second coat of poly on them and I'll upload a pic to show you.  Kathie - totally get where you are coming from with the gloss!  However I have purchased gloss white and the gloss poly so this time around I'll just have to use them but I'll certainly remember that for the future!!

Next is priming the rest of the staircase.  After priming and before painting I think I'm going to do a dry fit of the staircase (looks a bit tricky from here).  I'll ensure all the tabs are cut right etc etc.  If I need to modify the treads I'll just fix with a bit of poly.  Then after the stairs I'm going to consider the flooring.  I'm going to experiment with the big pack of veneer I bought.  There are various colours of various woods so I'll try staining and varnishing to see what I prefer.  I'll also have to have a good go at cutting to ensure I can get strips even etc. 

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While I was at one of our large hardware stores looking for the iron on veneer I came across and bought these sticky backed vinyl tiles.  I'm going to use the black and white for the bathroom and the large dark one I'm going to make a little blacker and use for my kitchen!  They are really thin - I am really happy with them!   post-62950-0-67656900-1420611267_thumb.j   post-62950-0-33537900-1420611271_thumb.j

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...Holly uses the iron on veneer strips that come in a roll at the big box stores. It's paintable and stainable. It could be cut with scissors and applied to the treads. That might insure the evenness you are looking for.

I also like the Greenleaf self adhesive flooring options, both "wood" and tile:

gallery_8_1103_241829.jpg

 

While I was at one of our large hardware stores looking for the iron on veneer I came across and bought these sticky backed vinyl tiles.  I'm going to use the black and white for the bathroom and the large dark one I'm going to make a little blacker and use for my kitchen!  They are really thin - I am really happy with them!   attachicon.gifSticky backed tiles.jpg   attachicon.gifsticky backed tiles2.jpg

I found the really thin tile squares at one of our dollar stores and use them from time to time:

gallery_8_305_163540.jpg

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