Finish for red oak on stair treads

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I'm fixin' to sculpture some stair treads from some rough cut red oak i practically stole from an Amish auction ( 85 cents per BF). What i need to know is what finish i can use that meets the following criteria:
1. not water based poly 2. natural (as clear as oil based can do) 3. not too slick to sock feet
Things that don't matter:
1. odor while applying 2. cost 3. time takes to finish properly
thanks in advance! ,
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Steve Barker
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So I am particular to shellac. I would do blonde or super blonde dewaxed shellac since you want it as clear as possible.
That will still help pop the grain.
As far as not too slick. That can be mitigated with sanding after, with any finish.
Other advantages, in one day you can get 4 coats done. Fast drying so less dust nubs. Low odor.
On 2/18/2012 4:42 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

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On 2/18/2012 4:07 PM, tiredofspam wrote:

thanks for the reply. I've never even touched a speck of shellac, but i must admit after reading all the stuff on this group, my curiosity is sparked.
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Shellac is soft and mars easily. Not suitable for stairs IMHO. I would use 1 coat BLO to pop the grain, one coat zinsser "seal coat " shellac for sanding seal and 3-4 coats water poly after. The BLO and shellac will make the oak beautiful and then the water poly won't give the lifeless look it would without the 2 steps before it. I do it all the time with kitchens and such and the look is fabulous. Amish red oak sounds like it is ~not~ kiln dried. I would be sure it is KD for stair treads.
RP
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Wow, shellac soft? I don't think so. It is very hard once fully cured.
On 2/19/2012 8:15 AM, RP wrote:

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tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> writes:

It is considered a soft finish when compared to hard film finishes such as polyurethane or spar varnish.
Shellac is not commonly recommended for high traffic areas for that reason.
Shellac also doesn't tolerate alcohol spills well (but it does repair easily).
I'd use a good poly for stairs, or a blo-spar-turps blend.
scott
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On 2/19/2012 11:22 AM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

well we don't make a habit of carrying open containers of alcohol up and down the stairs......
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On 2/19/2012 12:41 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

That could be beer or wine.
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On 2/19/2012 5:59 PM, Leon wrote:

LOL. not here.
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Spar finish is soft.. That's it's purpose, it's supposed to be flexible. Shellac is harder than spar.
On 2/19/2012 12:22 PM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

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On 2/19/2012 1:04 PM, tiredofspam wrote:

I used spar on b grade plywood in my darkroom. Indestructible for many years even with the chemicals. But way to yellow for my red oak.
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On 2/19/2012 2:18 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

Spar varnish is more of a marine varnish for out door use. Designed to not harden but to remain flexible so that a spar does not crack it when it flexes. Not really a furniture grade varnish.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spar
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On Sun, 19 Feb 2012 14:04:35 -0500, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

Harder yes, but it is more durable?
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On 2/19/2012 11:22 AM, Scott Lurndal wrote:

Ok, careful there, a spar varnish is absolutely not hard, it remains flexible so that it will not crack when flexed.
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On Feb 19, 10:53am, tiredofspam <nospam.nospam.com> wrote:

Still fairly soft even when fully cured compared to poly. Mars real easy. Period. No need to reply. We got ~your~ message.
RP
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Harder finishes buff to a higher gloss. I can compound shellac (or lacquer) until it looks and feels like glass. Poly will look and feel closer to Saran wrap.
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On 2/19/2012 7:15 AM, RP wrote:

no, not dried. But it's been sawn now for about 2+ years. In a garage, up off the floor. Thanks for the suggestions.
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On 2/18/2012 3:42 PM, Steve Barker wrote:

You need a tough finish, shellac as mentioned would probably be a less than desirable finish.
A lot of what you want is not going to be easily achieved.
You need a hard finish and a hard finish tends to be slippery.
To make a surface less slick you can mix in sand. but test with and with out for desired results.
The clearest finish will be water based.
If you absolutely must have an oil based varnish consider General Finishes Arm R Seal
http://www.generalfinishes.com/retail-products/oil-base-top-coats
Simply put, you need to be careful on stairs. Solid wood stairs and socked feet are going to add an element of risk.
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Before poly, shellac was a common wood floor finish. It was durable enough, dried quickly.
Shellac's downside is alcohol resistance. As far as fixing spots, shellac beats them all. Why? Because it repairs easily remelting the previous layers for repairs. Lacquer does this too, but it requires more prep, and smells.
But yes, Poly is more durable. But can't be repaired. Poly won't stick to long cured poly.
On 2/19/2012 9:46 AM, Leon wrote:

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On 2/19/2012 9:52 AM, tiredofspam wrote:

...
For flooring it's even bigger disadvantage is water resistance, so particularly if this is in an entry area that's a consideration.
It is, as noted here and elsewhere, the traditional/historic floor finish but there are reasons it was surpassed by the poly's and other floor varnishes and that prime reason is wear.
The key item in choosing here imo would be how much traffic the area will get and what kind...up and down once in the morning and then again when go upstairs at night; not such a maintenance issue. Three kids, two dogs and running up and down constantly; think again...
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