varnishing/staining hand rail

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Hi All

ive got to varnish a handrail it looks like a mahogany but it has wore away in certain places, do i have to strip it right back or can i just varnish over it?
 
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I'm guessing oil based as it looks quite glossy. What options have i got if water based aswell. cheers.
 
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If oil/solvent-based (most likely)just rub it down and give it a couple (or 3) coats of tinted satin varnish (polyuerathane) or Dulux protective woodsheen.
If theres patches of almost bare wood then you could give them a touch of woodstain/dye to even the colour out If its water-based it will probably start to peel as you rub it down..more work :rolleyes:
 
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