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Old 11-23-2014, 12:38 PM   #1
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Sanding between spindles on stairs


We're about to refinish our stairs in our 1922 home and I'd like advice on getting the areas around the spindles sanded well. Removing the spindles is not an option because I don't want to risk shifting the original wood any more than necessary. We're just keeping them white, so it's the area around.

Also we're using Rubio Monocoat, which I love, but it's a penetrating oil so it doesn't hide imperfections like polyurethane. I think the sanding and patching has to be a little better because of this.

1. I was thinking of using my dremel, also to get the millwork facing the stairs.

2. If not this I was thinking stripper and scraper.

3. If not this I was thinking of the agonizing process of hand sanding.

What's the ideal approach? Also we bought an edger, orbital sander. I was thinking we'd use this for the first few passes on the treads and then switch to a handheld belt sander to do the finer grits. Will that turn out ok?
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Old 11-23-2014, 02:44 PM   #2
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I think you're in the wrong forum, this is the flooring
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Old 11-23-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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You need to learn how to use and sharpen a scraper---these are the ones commonly used to scrape paint----properly sharpened,they will remove the old finish and the surface of the wood--

Also cabinet scrapers---these are the best tools for stair work--there are so many places that a sander can't reach---

Keep a file handy to resharpen the tool---
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Old 11-23-2014, 07:08 PM   #4
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An orbital sander will do a better job than a belt sander, and a belt sander is kinda wide for work around spindles, unless your using a Proxxon and that would be kind of dicey for what your doing.
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Old 11-23-2014, 08:55 PM   #5
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Might want to consider possible lead hazards before power sanding. In 1922, lead was about all the paint there was. Chemical stripper would be safer.

Even if you stripped all the paint off, sounds like sanding would still be necessary. The small spaces in between the spindles are hardest. I've tried the Dremmel sanding drums, but it hasnt worked too well for me. Some detail sanders like the Skill Octo have attachments that can help get tight spaces like that.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:32 PM   #6
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I used a Rockwell multitool to do in between my spindles and along the edges of the treads . Still ended up being almost 5 full days of sanding with that plus a decent Dewalt random oribit sander. I started with 40 grit, went to 80 and then 120 grit but I was finishing the wood not just painting them.

A shopvac is a must and with the multitool you're going to have less than perfect coverage from the vacuum. As others said lead paint is a concern and should be taken seriously.

When dealing with paint that may contain lead my preference is to use a heat gun for stripping and heat it no more than necessary.
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Old 11-23-2014, 10:51 PM   #7
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Sanding between spindles can be a painful & tricky job. Every time I have to do this, I go with stripper and scraper process since I find it easier & more convenient.
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