Step 3: Stripping the paint, part 3: the little details
Finishing up the removal.
I actually removed the old color in several sweeps. This photo is after the initial sanding. My husband used his chisel to carve out the edges. It took out a bit of wood in a few places, but for the most part, it just brought up the paint that had been loosened by the chemical stripper.
I did another pass with the sanders after this, and mostly used those to get in close. In a few places, and in the square corners where my round sanders couldn't reach, I used the chisel. Just a little tap-tap-tap with the chisel angled to take off the tiniest fragment of wood and pigment. The second picture shows the before-and-after of removing the paint.
Then I used a sanding block and sand paper to smooth out the chiseled areas, and to remove the last of the color. Here you see my daughter "helping". She lasted about 3 minutes before she ditched me. Ah, well.
Finally, you see my naked stairs.