refinishing stair treads need advice


I am refinishing pine stair treads that were previously painted. I stripped the paint, will sand and want to stain the treads a cherry color to match my hardwood floors. As I used a paint remover called Oops to remove the paint, is there anything else I should use prior to staining the sanded wood to insure even stain coverage?
What is the best (durable) clear finish to use after staining?
I plan to use rubber treads to cover the center of the finished treads.
Thanks for your help! Vic
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Be sure any residue is gone. If you sanded them down after removing the paint, it may be OK.

Polyurethane.
eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just give them a fresh coat of poly every few years.
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vic wrote:

Wood conditoner or a spit coat of shellac.

Water-based polyurethane won't yellow, doesn't stink up the place, dries far faster and will enable you to put on more coats in a shorter period of time than oil-based polyurethane. http://www.californiapaints.com/products/porchdeck/ccpufl.asp

I've never seen rubber treads on a nicely finished wood stair. The runners, if any, are almost always carpet or a rug-type runner. Won't the rubber be a rather harsh contrast to the beautifully finished wood?
R
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