Antique Newel In Progress

I feel like I'm juggling 2 jobs right now- the flip and our own house reno which is seemingly never ending (aren't they always?).  Luckily we are able to function in our house now, but shockingly (or not) my 'little' floor refinish project has snowballed.  Aside from needing new baseboards with the new floors and replacing the railing on the newly finished stairs, I'm using the floors as an excuse to fix a lot of my annoyances with the house- one BIG project instead of ten thousand little ones- makes sense, right?  RIGHT?? The next big step in the project is the stair railing.  This needs to happen asap so Hubby and I don't take a header down the steep steps.  Before that can happen, however, these antique newel posts that I picked up need to be rejuvenated.

antique newel posts before

Aside from the degraded finish, I needed to patch several holes from old hand rails and these suckers needed to be about a foot taller.  People were apparently shorter 100 years ago... or didn't mind having low handrails.

Handy Dad helped me to tackle the height issue and we devised a plan to marry the existing post with a mahogany 4x4.

First we cut down the bottom of the newel posts so we had a flat surface to attach the 4x4 to.

antique newel posts trimmed

Then, Handy Dad took over and doweled the newel post and the 4x4 together.  Essentially he drilled holes on one piece, then used transfer points to mark the other piece.

antique newel posts progress

Insert wooden dowels, wood glue, and clamp.

antique newel posts progress

Once the glue was dry, it was time for me to patch and sand my butt off.  I cut filler pieces out of the scrap we had from trimming the bases and glued them into the old slots- one on one railing and two on the other.

antique newel posts progress

And then sand for what seems like forever.  I started with a low grit and worked my way up to 220.

antique newel posts progress I would LOVE to be able to stain these newel posts and the railing to match, but sadly with all this patching regular stain is not an option.  Never fear, I have a plan!

While a solid stain alone would look flat and like I just painted the posts, a solid stain with a slightly darker stain/poly mix over it just might add the dimension that I'm hoping for.  Please disregard the ribs in the wood itself below- I was using the back of a floor board from my scrap wood pile.

antique newel posts color test

And since this is where I currently stand, this is where I leave you for today.

Will I be able to make these old newel posts look good?  Will my experimental finish work?  Stay tuned next week for the thrilling newel post conclusion!