Restoring Staircase from 1885

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Dear NH,
We are restoring a staircase in our house that was built in 1885. The stain on the wood is dark brown/black. What was the name or color of that period for interior stain on wood? I have stripped some of the wood and it is pine.
BN from Flovilla, GA

Stains of that era were most likely hand-mixed and colors were not as consistent as modern manufactured stains. So forget finding a color match by name!

I suggest getting a piece of similar pine and a few cans of Minwax or other brand of wood stain that closely match the original... and test them on the scrap pine. If necessary, intermix them to obtain an intermediate color. I have done this successfully in the past and, since you are going to do the entire staircase matching is less of a problem. The resulting color should look great!

Just don't mix stain brands OR mix oil and water-based stains. Who knows what brew you might come up with!

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