Need help with Handrails


My wife is handicapped and needs to have the wooden hand rails on the stairs "roughed up" so she can grip better.(They are stained wood) I have tried the textured paint but she says it actually makes it worse...as does sanding with rough sandpaper. Anyone got any ideas how to make wood rails less slippery? Is there a product that can be painted or sprayed on?
Rich Haynes
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Rich wrote:

Roughing up the wood could be a bad thing. Picking up a splinter on a handrail is almost guaranteed to cause a reflex action and loosen someone's grip on the rail. Bad situation.
The marine industry use non-skid paint for deck applications. It's simply a paint that has small aggregate (think coarse sand). You could replicate this by adding sand to polyurethane. Use a floor paint or floor polyurethane - a handrail experiences a fair amount of wear if it is used frequently.
R
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On ships they used to wrap rails with 21 thread cord similar to butchers twine. Got any old sailors in your neighborhood?
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Here's an idea that'll involve more work than textured paints, but would probably make for a more pleasant surface to grab. First, look at the picture of wooden buttons at the link below, provided only for illustration. You can buy these buttons at hardware stores, and probably Home Despot, too. They're normally used for covering screws that've been countersunk in wood.
http://www.widgetco.com/hardware/wood?gclid=CO3M7J3bsogCFQtwVAod2iBUhg
Remove your handrail, drill shallow holes into the top of it, tap buttons into place with a bit of wood glue, and refinish-repaint the handrail, including the buttons. Test your drill bit size with a couple of buttons in a piece of scrap wood first. They should be slightly snug, but not so tight that you need to hammer so hard that you damage them. Use a rubber mallet, or a finishing hammer and a thick piece of fabric held over the button.
If you know someone with a drill press, you could mark the series of holes along the top of the handrail, and have all the holes drilled very quickly. I'd space them every six inches, or maybe closer.
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Rich wrote:

If the profile allows, one possibility would anti-slip tape:
http://www.noskidding.com/pdf/NS4100_Web.pdf
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Well... friction tape should work, if you don't care what it looks like. If you check in hockey supply stores, you can probably even get it in colors.
But for the ultimate in grabability, you could go with multiple bits of this textured neoprene rubber and a great deal of high-quality rubber cement:
http://www.rubbersheetroll.com/neoprene_rubber_sheet_roll.htm (it's the last product on the page)
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