Today I started refinishing a set of steps and the handrail in the rectory of an old German Catholic Parish.
I started with the post. I tried using lacquer thinner and stripper to remove the old finish and stain.
Whatever is there is tough stuff as it didn't respond well to either one. Although the lacquer thinner proved to be more effective.
Here is the post as it was when I started.
I think that there may be more than one type of finish involved. This is very likely as there was probably three different layers of stuff I could see as I was stripping off the old finish. When it comes to the how of how to strip off an old finish there is typically some sort of a solvent involved.
But in the end it comes down to good ol' elbow grease - especially when you have something like this and you want to preserve the original detail of the moldings.
At any rate, take a look at this! I stripped off the old finish with a plan to simply refinish with a gel stain and look what I found!
I believe this is a type of figured maple, such as birds eye maple. It's not exactly like the birds eye maple I've seen before, but very close to it.
And here is a slightly closer look at the figured grain.
It seems to me that the original intent was that this figured grain was to be shown off because it's on all eight sides of the post. Over time and improper refinishing it somehow ended up be covered and forgotten. Pity - but a sweet find for me today! I am making changes to my refinishing plan now. This post will soon be the woodworking highlight of the hallway.