Refinishing a painted and varnished banister


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Old 06-05-20, 08:45 AM
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Refinishing a painted and varnished banister

Hi all, I am working on refinishing a banister and am looking for advice on the right approach to the project.

Starting Point
The banister currently is covered by paint on the lower portions and balusters and sealed varnish on the handrail. There are nicks, small areas of damage, and larger gouges in the handrail that will need to be filled or addressed in some way.

Section of banister pre-work


Example of gouge (post vanish removal) that was previously filled in with mismatched filler


Objective
My goal is to repaint everything that is currently brown to white and revarnish the handrails to a lighter color (if possible, open question). I'd also like to repair the minor damage and gouges in a way that minimizes being able to see these imperfections in the final state.

Recommended Process
I've been told to use a stripper to remove the paint and the varnish which I've mostly completed for one section of the banister that you can see below. In general, the process I've been told to follow is:
(1) Strip away what's there
(2) Clean any residual material with a scrubbing pad or metal brush
(3) Sand everything (120 grit)


For the portion of the banister to be painted:
(4) Perform repairs where needed
(5) Prime everything that will be repainted
(6) Sand again (240 grit)
(7) Paint

For the portion of the banister to be varnished (handrail):
(4) Perform repairs where needed
(5) Sand again (240 grit)
(6) Paint


Current state of the first banister length I'm working on stripping


Open Questions (the first batch)
(1) Any input on the process outlined above in terms of how to go about this project or the order of operations?

(2) My biggest challenge thus far are the small details and features (as small as a quarter-inch of working space in some areas). I can deal with that for the current stripping process but when it comes to sanding, how can I efficiently sand this down while dealing with those details. All the automatic sanders I've seen are too big for the job, are there other tools I could use for this?

Thank you for any input or ideas!
 
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Old 06-05-20, 08:51 AM
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When sanding it's important to sand with the direction of the grain. Cross sanding might show up in the finished product I agree with starting out with 120 grit. 150 or 180 grit is fine enough for the paint portion. 220 is what you'd want to use between coats of poly.

Hand sanding is often the only choice, not necessarily fun/fast but sometimes that's what you have to do.

almost forgot welcome to the forums Michael!
 
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Old 06-05-20, 10:05 AM
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The problem your going to face is the repairs to the handrails, nothing you do to fix all the damage is going to look very good if stained, might consider the opposite, painted handrail and stained spindles!
 
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Old 06-06-20, 04:41 AM
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Thank you for the welcome and the initial thoughts! For the sanding, is there a small automatic sanding tool that would work for something like this banister? I was told something like using a Dremel with a sanding brush could work, what do you all think? If so, do sanding brushes have grit ratings similar to sandpaper?

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-06-20, 04:49 AM
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IMO you'd be better off hand sanding. While a small sander will work on the flats it wouldn't work well on the rest and could cause damage from over aggressive sanding.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 05:11 AM
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A multi tool has sanding pad accessories!
 
 

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