Overall, I think it turned out really well.
- Spend the extra $10 and buy the conditioner. This helps limit the blotchiness that can happen while staining.
- When staining and using the polyurethane – move quickly. Both these products change consistency quickly when they start to dry, making them more difficult to work with. Because of this, I felt more comfortable using a smaller brush, because I had more control of it – so I could be fast and not so sloppy.
- Second coats doesn't necessarily make things darker – time is the biggest factor. It's better to do 1 15-minute coat instead of 2 10-minute coats.
Projects for later...
- Paint the handrail
- Tear out the carpet in the hallway and stain away.