In a world where we would live here forever, I would want to do some more significant cosmetic changes to this fireplace, like add some new awesome tile and build a surround that went all the way to the ceiling with a great wood mantel.
But, our days in this house may soon be nearing an end, so I planned for a quick update to match this guy to the rest of the honey oakless house.
After completely sanding the railing and using Polyshades to refinish them, I found that you don't have to sand to use Polyshades if you don't really want to. As you may know, I really don't want to sand. So I planned to Polyshade right on over that shiny honey oak surround.
I started by Frog taping all around the wood since Polyshades is oil based and hard to wipe off and paint over, and I wouldn't be carefully using a fancy Purdy angle brush for this project.
It was hard to tape too terribly close with all the different board and battens, and curvy trim woods going on around the perimeter of this beast, so I knew there would still be some paint touch ups.
Since I already had the oil based mess planned, I thought I might as well do the railing to the downstairs while I was at it. So I just removed the railing from the wall brackets (is that what they're called?). I read that it is better to remove the railing from the brackets than remove the brackets from the wall. Apparently it is hard to get the brackets to ever be tight on the studs again once removed.
To apply the Polyshades I used a brush made for oil based stuff and just lightly brushed in the direction of the grain. It's terribly important to brush with the grain when applying this stuff. Unlike stain which you can just throw on and wipe off, this stuff goes on as a sticky paste type nightmare of OCD terror. Also, try not to overlap over already applied areas because it all sticks to itself and gets darker in those spots.
Since the railing was already removed, I took the chance to paint the brassy railing brackets brushed nickel to match the rest of the hizzy. Because I didn't want to remove them from the wall I just made a Frog Tape/NDSU advertisement paint barrier on the wall hoping it would catch most of the over-spray.
I used the Rust-Oleum hammered paint and primer in one which is the same spray paint I used on the upstairs door hinges.
Worked like a charm. I don't think there was any over-spray. Only deadly fumes.
Now back to our originally planned post... the mantle... I applied the Polyshades to the mantle similar to how I applied it to the railing. I always went with the grain and tried to not overlap strokes too much. It helped to put small amounts of Polyshades on my brush with each refill. To be honest the mantel was fairly difficult to do with all it's groves and such, and it turned out slightly less amazing than I was hoping for. Titus says nobody would even notice I redid it, but it looks a little blotchy to me... especially in pictures. Still worth it.
I immediately removed the tape after I had finished the touch ups so it wouldn't peal off the new Polyshades. This revealed a surprising amount of Polyshades bleeding, which was pretty surprising, because usually Frog Tape is the blood clotting queen. Maybe it is less effective on oil based liquids? Either way there were touch ups needed around the entire outside perimeter of the mantel.
I just used my favorite angled Purdy and one coat of Swiss Coffee around the edge and I had myself a finished mantle.
I reloaded all my summery mantle mumbo jumbo (I remember summer...) and we had another honey oak death in the books. Like I said there is some serious blotchiness in the pictures which I hate, but it does look a little better in person at least. Knowing the slightly blotchy results, it was still worth the no sanding... especially with all those weird groves.
Since Polyshades is a stain and polyurethane combination, I have found that it tends to scratch off the color more easily. S,o if you do go with this technique you will probably have to be a little more careful not to scratch the surfaces. I applied a coat of straight polyurethane over the Polyshades on our railing to prevent scratches, but have not yet done so on the mantle and I have seen a few scratches.
The favorite before and after...