refinishing advice please


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Old 08-23-07, 10:08 AM
Z
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refinishing advice please

I pulled up the carpet off my stair case and would like to refinish it. 1/4 of each tread is stained(where the carpet didnt not cover) and the treads are pretty beat up needing a good sand.
I dont own a sander yet and would like to know what would be a good inexspensive one for this type of job. also since my treads need a good layer taken off should I even bother with a stripper?

Take into account I would also like to do the railings,kitchen cabinets and a round table!


can someone tell me what kind of wood these treads are, I thought they were oak.
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http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/zimzum1970/steps2.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/zimzum1970/steps.jpg


Zim
 
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Old 08-23-07, 10:55 AM
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The wood appears to be Douglas Fir.

As far as refinishing the steps, I think you'll probably want to chemically strip them, then sand. Larger areas can be sanded with an orbital sander (Mine's a 5" round Dewalt) It's hard on an orbital sander to sand up into a corner, so some of the sanding might even have to be done by hand (ugh, I know.)

Some of the tighter areas could use a detail sander, which is a triangular shaped sander. There are various brands ranging from the pricy (Fein), moderately expensive (Bosch) inexpensive (B&D and Skil). Dremmel also makes a "contour sander kit" if you already have a dremmel tool.

Sanding with the grain is usually the best way to avoid scratches, and some of these products (oscillating and oribiting) will leave scratches even with fine grained paper. One of the reasons why chemical stripping and as little sanding as possible on those detailed areas is often preferable. While sanding by hand with the aid of sanding blocks and such is painfully tedious, you can usually always sand with the grain.
 
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Old 08-23-07, 06:33 PM
Z
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thanks xsleeper,

any reccomendations on what grit paper to use if I wanted to get rid of a thin layer(1 or 2/32") of the tread?
 
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Old 08-23-07, 08:23 PM
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NP.

You'll be sanding a long time if you want to remove 1/16! When you want to remove large amounts of material, you can use a 60 grit pad. However it will leave large scratches, and you must be prepared to spend even more time sanding them out with 80, 100, 120, 150, etc. Belt sanders work best if you want to remove a lot of surface in a hurry. But you can also do a lot of damage with it in a hurry if you're not careful. A belt sander won't work well on stair treads, though, because you won't be able to sand the entire surface evenly with it.

The most common mistake people seem to make when finishing wood is that they get tired of sanding (which is understandable, since we all hate it.) But what happens is they spend more time on the lower grits, and less time with the finer grits... or they skip the finer grits altogether, thinking they've sanded it enough by reasoning that it feels smooth so it must be smooth. But they can't see the tiny scratches in the surface, which can often hold way too much pigment when you go to stain. If you want a good finish and a smooth surface with no scratches that accepts stain evenly, you have to sand and sand some more.

I rarely use 60 grit because it leaves such deep scratches. So I hesitate to recommend it. A power sander will sand plenty fast with 80 grit, which will remove most imperfections. Resist the temptation to work on imperfections, as you will create dips and gouges. Sand everything evenly. Gouges can be filled with wood filler. For me, wood finished to 120 grit is usually good enough. Soft woods sometimes up to 150. Some like it to be sanded better so where you stop is really up to you. But spend plenty of time with each grit as you go. A lot of the time you won't see those swirly scratches until you apply the stain, and then you'll wish you had spent more time sanding.

A rag wet with paint thinner will usually help you see the swirly scratches I'm referring to, if you have never seen them, try it and check it out for yourself. If using a palm sander, a lot of swirls usually indicates that you are pushing down on the sander too hard. You actually don't have to push on it it all- let the sandpaper do the work. Douglas fir is really fairly soft wood, so it will sand quickly. One problem I've noticed with it is that the early and late wood (the woodgrain look) will sand differently, and when you sand it a LOT, it will seem like you have raised the harder latewood, because you've sanded off more of the softer earlywood, creating dips in the woodgrain. You really notice that once the varnish is on and you can see the variation in depth in the gloss of the finish.

I'm speaking purely as a carpenter who has done some finishing. There are plenty of painters/finishers here too, so I'm sure they will have something to add. They are always too polite to tell me to stick to cutting and hammering.
 
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Old 09-12-07, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by zimzum


can someone tell me what kind of wood these treads are, I thought they were oak.
jpg


Zim
Your treads appear to be yellow pine and is a lot softer wood than oak. Pine is very soft between the growth rings and very difficult to sand (if you get aggressive with your sanding) and not dish it out between the growth rings. It is very easy to get the surface uneven.
 
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Old 09-13-07, 04:19 AM
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I would add that you may need a sharp scraper to remove finish/wood in the tight corners. As with most sanding, scrape with the direction of the grain. Sanding or scraping against the grain will result in more/deeper scratches
 
 

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