I am stripping my Trims in the entryway of my house. I removed the paint but then I noticed there is a chippy paint at the bottom of the trim that comes out without any chemical as long as I use a sharp scrapper. Do i have to remove all of this chippy stuff before I stain or can I sand the trim and get it as smooth as possible to stain. Another question is, do I have to stain before i put on vanish?
Anything left on the wood or in the grain is going to resist the stain and make the job look uneven and blotchy so you need to get as much as you can out of the way. A sharper scraper is always what I try first when stripping paint from wood work. All other processes--chemical or mechanical--create heat which can melt old paint and force it into the wood grain especially on softer woods like pine, fir, etc.
If you find you still have a lot of old paint in the grain, try applying a quick coat of shellac and then strip it off. If you are lucking the shellac will stick to the paint in the grain enough you can get most off.
You will want to stain before varnish or poly, or pick a product with some stain in it although I am not a big fan of such.