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.
<p>Great post. I found other useful tips in &lt;a href=&quot;http://www.refinishingpro.com/hardwood-floor-refinishing-nyc/&quot;&gt;REfinishing Pro&lt;/a&gt;</p><p>I'm planing on doing my stairs since we just painted the House. Again, nice post and keep it up!</p>
How does one refinish the stair handrails and the spikes below?
I am so grateful for this information.Our home here in S.W. Pennsylvania as built in 1928. The wife and I pulledup the carpet from the stairs just this past weekend. We moved into this home in Jan. 2008. It had been refurbished completely and given beautiful hardwood flooring throughout EXCEPT the old stairs. Its such a shame that it wasnt done as well. Our stairs look very much like your stairs--amazing likeness! Your instructions are awesome. I am following them to a 'T'. However,ours have nail holes and small chunks that need filled with something. What do I do aout that as I dont know of any filler that will take stain! I need help with that please.Again,thanks ad God Bless!
Awesome. My wife feels the same way about the charm in the nicks and holes.We will follow your lead and I'll get pictures going too as we go. We picked up a new sander last night at HD.We have bitten into too much as we have the livingroom to finish painting (now just the trim-round the door and windows) ,and other tasks need caught up. I'll be cutting some grass today. It's so nice today here in Houston,PA,andI love cutting grass! So...on we go. Thank you very much for your kind response!!
I've heard that a lot of fillers really don't take stain well. But if you're refinishing an old staircase, those nail holes are part of the charm. And if you can't fix it, flaunt it, right? <br>I'd suggest that, if you have little nail holes, like carpet-tack holes, just let the stain get them while you're staining, and let the polyurethane fill them in when you paint. <br> <br>If they're big nail holes, I'd get a wood filler that's two or three shades darker than the stain you're going to use, in the same color-family, push it in tight, let it dry, and sand it well so it's just a little dark circle; then stain and poly over it. <br> <br>The nail holes might just be what makes your 1928 home look like it has almost 100 years of memories walking up and down those stairs!
I have sanded floors professionally in the past. If you end up doing this again, or for those who read this and want to tackle this themselves - forget the chisel, get a good ol' Red Devil scraper. 1 1/2 inch blade (just the blade and make your own handle if you have to, that what we did and do). You will get much better results.<br>60, 80, 100 ARE finishing grits when it comes to floor sanding. Forget what the salespeople try to sell you.
We just bought an older house (early 1900's) and I want to do the very same thing to the stairs and the whole house. Thank-you for the excellent instructions!! This will make my job much easier. Thanks again!!
Nice job...Im impressed, most women I know would never dream of tackling a job like this with no xp and no backup help, well my sis-inlaw would but would then get me and my bothers to finish and correct ;) Im planing on doing my mother's stairs since we just painted the hallway. Again, nice job and keep it up!
great project! looks great!
As a postscript: <br>The staircase no longer squeaks like it did. Nearly all of the steps squeaked quite loudly before. Now there is only one squeak on one part of the landing, and none on the stairs at all! <br>I do not have an explanation for this, but it is an interesting bonus!
Nice job, you should be quite happy with the results. I agree with your choice of the MiniWax poly, it does a nice job. Frankly you have a lot of courage and clearly lots of tenacity tackling those stairs. Your method of packing the old strip flooring with cotton strings is quite innovative. I hope it works well for you. Congratulations for a job well done and a nice clear instructable.
Thank you very much!

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