Less Slick Surface: Stairs from Woodweb
Slipping down the stairs is no one's idea of fun -- no matter how attractive the finish looks on. So, what are some suggestions to avoid a slippery slope on your stairs? That was the topic of this discussion, which began with one poster's question. - Editor
"I've done a set of stairs with cherry treads spray finished with medium rub Sherwin Williams onversion varnish. The owners are concerned that the finish may be too slick. Incidentally, the adjacent floors are almost identically finished. Any suggestions? My sense is that a bit of normal wear will substantially normalize traction. However, I'm not dismissive of this issue, and if there are any useful (and applicable) strategies I want to be able to offer them. I am also wondering about discoloration over time. I have an idea the West system, boat builder people have much experience with this. I'm going to check in that direction, too." - Dan B.
The first forum member who responded to the query had a suggestion -- and then he tracked down a container of it in one of his cabinets. - Editor
"I have used full gloss polyester and stairs and have not had a problem. Not that you want to do the stairs again, but check with your local small paint store. There is a clean, sand-like powder that you can buy to sprinkle on your wet finish that will make the finish non-slip...That was a scary hunt. I found what you were looking for in a storage cabinet that I do not think that I have been in for 10 years! SKID-TEX®. Says it contains no abrasive or metal particles and will not change the color of your finish. It appears to be a very fine silica sand. What you are trying to do is make your surface rougher than what you sprayed down. To do that, you are going to change the reflectivity of that surface by definition and actions which will change the color's appearance. The last time I used this stuff, I poured it into a bag I made of cheesecloth and used it like you would a salt shaker over my freshly sprayed finish. Personally unless your customer and his lawyer demands a fix, I think that the perceived problem will solve itself. Unless you have a 'No Shoe House' (in that case, socks will polish any surface), the act of walking on the treads with shoes will abrade then soon enough!" - Michael H.
Others had some other suggestions -- including the "wait and see" option. - Editor
"I think just a light scuff of some sort would be the best if you don't want to wait for normal wear. You could repaint with a high build gloss and then knock the sheen down with pads or steel wool and also the 'slickness.'"- Marc
"West System is not your answer; it is a two-part epoxy system used mostly for hull or keel repairs. It is not generally used for decks. Most decks are 1) teak, unfinished to prevent slipping, or 2) gel coat with textured surface. Sometimes non-wooden decks are re-finished with 1- or 2-part polyurethane. There are a number of varnishes (both traditional and urethane-based) that have proven reliable for wood stair treads. There are also a number of different non-skid appliques made for that purpose, if needed. Try the stairs with just finish and use the amendments if you find they're needed later." - RRM
"Use a non-skid additive (usually silica powder). They knock the sheen down a bit, but otherwise don't effect the finish quality. Be sure to stir often or the powder will sit at the bottom of the pot." - Bob B.
When Your Shop is Smaller Than Your Tool Inventory from Sawmill Creek
It's a good problem to have -- and he admits it -- but this woodworker wants to know where others store the tools that have overflowed the space available in their shop. - Editor
"I always love seeing shops where every tool has a perfect place, and I envy you. But I want to see what you guys do that don't have enough room for all your tools. While it's a great problem to have, it can be a real [pain in the *]." - Bill W.
He received a variety of suggestions -- some more practical than others. - Editor
"Our house has a formal dining room. I cannot remember the last time I ate at that table. I suggested to my wife that I could use that space as an annex to the shop. This idea did not work for me, but you might have better luck." - Larry W.
"Wheels. I have an edge sander that blocks unloading the dust collector. Wheels make it possible. Since its not an all-the-time thing, I push the sander out of the way. Another thing you can do is think: 'What is the longest length I process? In my place, it's 7 feet. If a project needs more than 7 feet, I try not to build it. It's amazing what you can get done if the shop is laid out for a certain length of material." - Rick F.
"Things used daily, within reach. Things used frequently, within a few steps. Things used specifically (but less frequently), in cabinets, up high, down low. Things used specifically (for infrequent applications), out in the shed. Things used rarely, down the highway. I do 'it' another way. I don't have space for such things; I need that space for wood." - Glenn B
"Unlike most others, I hang onto the plastic cases the tools come in and store most of my tools in them. Always the 'scrounger,' I also repurpose as much material as I possibly can.
The old plastic shutters on the house that I replaced last year became lightweight shelves, and the shelf brackets came from Menard's (free after rebate). Ugly as sin, but dirt-cheap and functional. The old builder's special interior doors I replaced became a 7' by 32" rolling storage cabinet. It has three good-sized compartments that hold a lot of 'stuff.' 'Stuff' can be anything from seldom used tools, such as a doorknob hole jig, to miscellaneous hardware such as shelf pins, etc. The 'stuff' is stored in small backpacks, the original plastic cases and/or plastic totes. I built it to the same height as the table saw so it can be rolled over to the saw and used as an extra-long outfeed table as needed." - Rich E.
"When I sold my 148x48 shop, I moved to a 48x36 and a 24 x36 garage. I am using the garage right now as the bigger building needs everything. I have shaper/planer/jointer/planer in the garage all the time and rotate other tools as I need them out of the bigger building with the tractor. It's a pain in the tush, but this too will pass." - Larry E.
"Everything in my 'shop' (garage) is on wheels. I made a stand, for my belt/disc sander, scroll saw and benchtop 10" band saw. I put the 3 tools on plywood that is the same size. I made the bottom of the stand with cutouts big enough to hold 2 tools, and the top with a larger area with the same sized cutout, so you can move the tools from the bottom to the top 'working' level. You can only put 3 tools where 2 fit, but it's a little space savings. And you get a semi-worktable." - Kyle I.
"One thing for me that has been a big help is my clamp storage. I clamp them to the rafters of the loft overhead. That gave me the most available space on the walls." - Bill W.
"I have my table saw in the middle of the shop and I made an assembly/outfeed table with storage underneath. I made a cabinet underneath the extension table for the router and under the TAS to the right. The table is 4x7 so there's a lot of storage under it. On one side where I sand, etc., I made cubbyholes with doors for the random orbit sander, biscuit joiner, jigsaw. I also ran power so I have plugs on all sides so I don't have to come off the wall." - Don J.
"I 'stack' tools up the wall using heavy-duty shelving standards and brackets, then plywood mount boards. I store hand tools in clamshell cabinets that offer multiple layers of storage in a small footprint, my air compressor lives under a stand I built to lift my dust collector intake even with my separator can top, and I presently have ongoing projects to build multi-drawer storage cabinets to go under every major machine. My handheld power tools are stashed away in their cases, or in ballistics nylon tool bags that I have added to help organize things. I have a long way to go, but if it all works out as designed, I will be able to eventually move my entire shop, INCLUDING the long extension wing table saw, AND a 12x36 lathe etc... into a 12x16 shed." - David H.