We purchased this old house for our first home. My husband was sold by the great location, I was sold by the great details hidden by years of paint and neglect. The previous owner had allowed her sons to trash the place, dog feces was found in a pile in one of the bedrooms, the carpet in the upstairs hallway was still damp with cat urine when we removed it a month later. I worked on the house for a month before we actually moved it. I patched the cracks in the plaster walls, painted all the surfaces, tore all existing carpet out, and had a professional refinish 85% of all the floors in the house, they are original oak. Now I am at the point where I have done all the cosmetic easy work that I can and have decided to refinish the stairs. They are the first thing you see when you enter the house and they could be beautiful. I used a heat gun on all the stairs and spindles and didn't burn anything for the most part. Now I'm trying to use a chemical paint remover to get the last little bit of paint and varnish off. Then I plan to sand very lightly the whole stairs and finally get to apply a stain and finish! I hope that anyone that has helpfull tips will share, I know that I bit off a huge project, but I know that in the end it will be worth it..... I hope.