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I can answer all staircase balustrade questions where handrails, newels posts, balusters (wood and metal), and stair treads are concerned. I cannot help with cabinetry and floor (outside of stair-related treads and risers), as well as stain and finish issues unless staircase related.

Experience in the area

30 years in the stair industry. Founder of Hardwood Creations in Southern California and CEO of Westfire Manufacturing, Inc. I was a stair builder for 10 years, both in custom and production housing. Have estimated over 750,000 single family homes and provided materials to lumber yards and builders for 12 years. Was an expert witness in several staircase related law suits in Southern California. Stair codes, installation help, stair handrail and balustrade installation are what I know best.


NAHB of Portland, OR. Was a member of ICBO for 9 years.


Cal State Fullerton, Cypress College

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Prashant S Akerkar10/29/15101010Dear Joseph Thanks. Thanks & Regards, Prashant .....
De06/10/15101010Thank you Joseph
tammie van winkle10/17/14101010I appreciate the quick response!I am going .....
Joseph Goin02/09/14101010Totally professional and a clear response. Thank .....
Tina Zimmerman11/19/131010Thank you.. I do not trust Depot .....

Recent Answers from Joseph G. Swallow

2015-06-03 Toning down red in new cherry cabinets:

Once the cherry is sealed, the darkening process slows down or even stops.  The only condition is if it get direct sunlight through a window.  Otherwise, once the gain is sealed the process most often

2014-10-16 sticky handrails:

It sounds like you've done a good job and did it the hard way.      Usually I would take 1 part mineral or coconut oil and mix with 1 part baking soda.  Then, with a microfiber cloth I would wash the sticky

2014-03-21 notched 6.5" square newel:

When notching large newel posts, I always used a 12" power miter box to cut what I can and then finish it with a chisel.  Some carpenters I've seen made use of the same with a table saw or a skill saw

2014-02-07 Black streaks and marks on oak steps:

The only thing I could think of recommending is to use an orbital sander, knocked the finish off of the nose of your treads, then apply wood bleach.  Savogran Wood Bleach is one that you can find at any

2013-11-17 how to clean stained oak:

I don't know of any cleaning solution that would work, but I once took Watco Danish Oil on a stair that was stained for years, but never finished, and rubbed in the new oil which did remove dirt and prints


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