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How to refinish old stairway?

Posted by no_clever_name (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 24, 08 at 12:49

I am beginning a much-needed renovation of the front hall in my 90-year old house. The stairway has the typical wooden banister that goes up the stairs, takes a turn, then continues another 12 feet along the upper halls. I plan to replace the old carpet with a runner. The spindles and the ends of the stairs are currently painted. I'm fine with leaving the spindles painted, but I would really prefer to have the stair treads stained, rather than painted. How does one tackle this? Is it really necessary to deconstruct the banister in order to properly remove the paint around the bases of the spindles? Given the length of the banister, I'm concerned about the cost of that, but suspect if the banister is not removed, then the work/cost of refinishing the stairs goes up. I will appreciate any suggestions!

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RE: How to refinish old stairway?

You can probably scrape the paint from around the spindles. Esp. if there is varnish under the paint, which will allow the paint to separate, not having absorbed into the wood. You'll need a 1" and 1 1/2" scraper. They need to be kept sharp with a file. Most people never sharpen their scraper blades, and get frustrated, resorting to all manner of chemical agents, which dissolve the paint and actually allow pigment to enter the wood's pores; not a helpful thing.
But, I digress. After scraping, evaluate the state of the treads. They may need only a good sanding before the varnish.

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