I am finally done with the banister and spindles. Finally. I still have a bit to do on the newel post and the piece where the banister meets the wall (is there a technical term for that bit?), but the back-breaking part is over. Finally. I wish I could sound more enthusiastic, but mostly I'm just relieved. This project brings new meaning to the word "tedious".
Something I am excited about it the shellac. I bought a package of garnet shellac from Rockler, and I mixed up a batch a few days ago. I think it's kind of a misnomer that they're called shellac flakes, though. Mine looked more like glass chips and took 2 days to dissolve completely. I'm testing it out right now on a spare board, and I'll post some pics when I've got a few coats on.
Another bit of excitement is the woodwork came back from The Strip Shoppe less than a week after I dropped it off. 85 board feet in 6 days. That guy is my hero. When we picked it up, he had cleaned off the backs as well as the fronts, and packaged them up neatly in 3 bundles. They don't even need to be sanded. I think the $280 was money very well spent, and I'll be sending more business his way soon.