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Part of stairs that weren't finished by the previous owner for unknown reasons. I want to finish to match, but not sure if I am supposed to use a wood stain, varnish, or if I can use a polyurethane clear gloss coat.

Picture with flash

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and a view of the other side that they did finish (without flash)

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Is this a stain (maybe dark walnut?) or some other type of finish? What should I get to have the closest match?

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    Even matching to old type of finish, the new will look different. The old finish will have faded/worn down during the years. Matching is one of the hardest jobs to do unless you did the job in the beginning.
    – crip659
    Sep 26, 2021 at 14:33
  • I guess I'll just take whatever closest I can get - would this be a stain or a gloss coat... looks like maybe it's a dark walnut stain? Sep 26, 2021 at 15:30
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    Hard to tell. One or more coats of stain or stain plus a finish coat. Would try to use a similar type of scrap wood to do tests on. The unfinished side looks like they tried to remove what was on it, need to clean back to wood. The finish side might have dirt on it, so should clean it to have the real look.
    – crip659
    Sep 26, 2021 at 16:10
  • The finished side is actually clean, it all has that variable look. It was a renovation so the original wood was from 1906 and probably had a lot of coats of paint before they remodeled Sep 26, 2021 at 20:19

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