newbie refinishing old stairs HELP - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-13-2020, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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newbie refinishing old stairs HELP

Hi! Can someone help me? I'm new to home DIY and decided to restore an old staircase. I used a few rounds of Citristrip. I took the last round off around 9pm last night. I noticed the wood seems much darker today. I did rub some mineral spirits on to clean it, but I thought it would be dried out by now. I ran the sander on it for a few seconds and the pad immediately got ruined and didn't do anything to the wood. Is the wood just still wet? Should I be worried? How long does it take to dry out for sanding usually?
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-13-2020, 04:53 PM
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Welcome to the forum, Brianna! Add your location to your profile, please.

You might try a scraper first and then sand after you've removed all the gunk.

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post #3 of 8 Old 09-13-2020, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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OK I did one more round of citristrip to see if it was stain, but its not. The wood seems really soft. What kind of scraper?
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-13-2020, 05:56 PM
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Citrus Strip requires about 5 to 8 applications......

An older staircase probaly has 10 layers of paint and it's a nightmare task to get it all off IF you intend to stain it afterwards. It just may not be possible and you'll end up painting it again to get it to look decent. Sorry to be the bearer of that news, but that just about how it is.

Check out these You Tubes:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ng+gel+reviews


This one seems to be much better:


I have been using Aircraft Stripper for many years with the best success. They may have weakened/changed the formula because of VOC regulations not allowing Methylene chloride as the original was years ago ... I donno?


Finally, a pretty exhaustive test on automotive type paints which are harder and require a stronger stripper than house paints:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-13-2020 at 06:25 PM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-13-2020, 07:02 PM
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It should be called CitriDon'tStrip. The removers they make today without Methylene Chloride are lousy. I wouldn't even start a job with one of them. Be easier to tear all the wood out and put new wood back. Now if you can find a professional supplier that you can con into believing you are a furniture refinisher you can still buy the good stuff.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-14-2020, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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My biggest concern is finding out why the wood is light blonde before I do it and then dark black afterwards
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-14-2020, 02:21 PM
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The blonde is the natural and correct color of the wood. If there is black spots it is likely due to water damage. On a floor people tend to walk the finish off of the wood and then every time they walk on it with wet feet it causes damage to the floor. Over time this can add up to a lot. What they should have done is when they wear through the finish touch up the color some and put a couple coats of fresh finish over the top. They may lack the experience to get the color right but that is better than deep water damage.

What you need to do is to get an orbital sander instead of a mouse sander and sand the floor first with a 60 grit stearated paper. The stearated paper won't plug up near as bad as regular paper. You basically need to take it down to the bare wood and then do normal sanding. The 60 grit paper will make terrible scratches in the wood but can be sanded out with finer grit paper once the finish is gone. Every time you change grits wipe the wood with a wet rag and allow to dry. This will raise the grain and make your sanding more effective.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-14-2020, 03:59 PM
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Brianna, if your pics are of the same stair tread, before and after stripping and sanding (as they seem to be), I think the black in the "after" pic could be the grit from your sandpaper sticking to the gummy wood.

I've used quite a few strippers over the years, and the current version of Citristrip seems to be awfully gooey and difficult to remove completely. If there was any amount of that left in the grooves of the wood where the paint had worn off, your sandpaper may have been fine enough to just clog up the grain. What grit of sandpaper were you using?

I'd let it all dry completely, since you mentioned you'd taken another shot at it with the Citristrip. Then use a heavier grit sandpaper as others have suggested. I'm taking paint and stain off old windows and doors and I'm using 80 or even 60 grit at times to get the last of the stain off. Then work your way back up to a higher grit, appropriate for whatever finish you're going to apply.

Good luck, and happy house restoring!

Jan
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