Sanding before staining? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Question Sanding before staining?

I'm replacing the old stair treads with oak treads. The new ones are sanded decent but still a bit rough. I have a belt sander and orbital sander, both can use different grits of sandpaper. I don't want to overdo with the sanding but like to know what would be best to sand the wood. Looking at a Min-Wax water based stain and General Finish Enduro-Var. Thanks.

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post #2 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 09:27 AM
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The orbital sander would be my choice. With the belt sander it would be far to easy to over sand and end up with a cupping.

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post #3 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 10:10 AM
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I sand to 120 grit normally and then use an oil based stain. A water based stain can raise the grain.
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post #4 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Packard View Post
I sand to 120 grit normally and then use an oil based stain. A water based stain can raise the grain.
Good point! Would the finish be compatible with the oil based stain? This question was just brought up (started to say raised) by SWMBO.

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post #5 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
Good point! Would the finish be compatible with the oil based stain? This question was just brought up (started to say raised) by SWMBO.
I always put down a coat of Sealcoat (dewaxed shellac) as a primer. At that point you can go with either water based or oil based. The shellac is compatable with either.

Though I recently found that shellac is not compatible with some acrylic finishes like BM Advance and PPG's Breakthough!. The Breakthrough crazed over the shellac and I had to sand it all off.
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks.


BTW, does your name have anything to do with the classic car, Packard? Grandfather had a '53 model- light blue with dark blue interior.

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post #7 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 07:21 PM
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As long as you came back afterwards with the orbital I don't see the harm in belt sanding. I belt sand all new wood. It's not like you were trying to belt sand treads already installed, it should work well.

Any finish would be compatible with an oil stain that is allowed to dry. You could use a water based stain which would also be compatible. I don't like them because it raises the grain and creates more work but if voc is an issue you would have that option. Since they are stair treads I would use a finish that was made for flooring. It would wear a lot better. They are available in oil based or water based.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-15-2019, 10:59 PM
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Four cents worth here.

Stair treads will get a lot of traffic. Regardless of the finish, you are going to repair the finish over time.

First, DO NOT stain. The next coat 5 or so years down the road will not match the existing.
Second, use a flooring product. Oil based will add warmth (a.k.a. yellowing) where a water based will tend to be slightly cooler. Record somewhere what you used so you can use the same product when repair time comes along.

In this day and age, I would use the water based product because the EPA or influence from CARB will phase out oil based products. Then you will never match the oil based product with water based.

I wouldn't fuss with filling. You are not going to try and write on the stairs and you're not building a smooth flat surface like the lid of a piano.

You said that the stair treads are smooth just a bit coarse. You could use a random orbit sander with 120 grit. But then follow with 180 grit by hand using a sanding block. Wipe with a damp cloth to raise the grain. Finally top off with 220 grit on a sanding block. Only 3 or 4 light passes with the 220. After the first coat of water based a light pass with 220 grit before the second coat. All of the hand passes should be with the grain.

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post #9 of 15 Old 05-16-2019, 12:07 AM
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I'm in the same ballpark as No Thankyou - use water base products and include the MinWax prep product.
This is what I learned from a local well respected cabinet maker...
Between each stage, lightly scribble pencil marks over the surfaces and sand with a 100 grit. do this with a 100, 120, 150 papers. Then sponge wet the surfaces (this will raise the loose fibers). When dry, hand sand with a 180 grit. Any higher grits on hardwoods will close the grain to accepting any stain or finishes from absorbing into the wood (soft woods' final grit should be 220 grit). You can get a shinier finish with higher grits, but the finish will be on the surface, not in the wood.
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post #10 of 15 Old 05-16-2019, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Stair treads will get a lot of traffic. Regardless of the finish, you are going to repair the finish over time.
At my age, the next owner will have to deal with refinishing the stair treads. House is split foyer so the stairs get a lot of traffic- two adults, two small dogs and occasional grandkids. We had pine treads originally but SWMBO wanted to put down oak this time. I was looking at the Min-Wax brochures from Lowe's and saw the pre-stain prep. Will pick up a can as it makes good sense.
FWIW, she wants to have the treads overhang the top section of steps and trim it someway. Will be a separate thread on this. Pulled up some pictures on a Bing search that look simple. Only be five steps to be trimmed.
Thanks for the input! Will get the SWMBO to read these in case I missed something.

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post #11 of 15 Old 05-16-2019, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
Thanks.


BTW, does your name have anything to do with the classic car, Packard? Grandfather had a '53 model- light blue with dark blue interior.
The week before I went to pickup my German Shepherd pup that I imported from Germany, I saw an old magazine ad for a Packard that had as a slogan, "Ask the man who owns one." Later that same day I mentioned that I was expecting a shipment of a German Shepherd, and a girl asked, "What's so special about a German Shepherd?"

I replied, "Ask the man who owns one." And so when the pup came in I named him Packard.

My onscreen name is from my old dog; my dog's name was from the car.

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Last edited by Packard; 05-16-2019 at 10:53 AM.
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post #12 of 15 Old 05-16-2019, 05:49 PM
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When I was a kid in Brooklyn (late 1940s) there were 2 Packard cars in the neighborhood, a '24 and a '36. The '24 was taken out every Sunday for a pleasure drive. The husband and wife still used an Ice Box with ice delivered several times a week. The guy that owned the '36 was a travelling salesman and was gone for weeks at a time.

The '24 was very much like the picture but not a soft top.

Remembering the condition of the '24, I think that people would kill for that car today.

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post #13 of 15 Old 05-17-2019, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Off topic but the Packard was the luxury car of its day. Huge car, had big engines and were the choice of gangsters, too. as they were some of the few that could afford one. If you want to see what they are worth now, go to any major bookstore and look at the Hemmings automotive book; can't remember the exact title but it has a brown cover. 30 years ago I found my '66 Corvette was priced from $40K-70K. Afraid to look now.
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post #14 of 15 Old 05-17-2019, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
Off topic but the Packard was the luxury car of its day. Huge car, had big engines and were the choice of gangsters, too. as they were some of the few that could afford one. If you want to see what they are worth now, go to any major bookstore and look at the Hemmings automotive book; can't remember the exact title but it has a brown cover. 30 years ago I found my '66 Corvette was priced from $40K-70K. Afraid to look now.
My father bought a 1967 Corvette coupe with a 427 engine, tri-power and side pipes. He paid $4,000 for it. He sold it 4 years later for $4,000 with just over 4,000 miles on it. He thought he got a good deal.

A number of years ago that car was selling for $500,000, but has since dropped to a "sensible" $250,000.

Car collecting is a crazy hobby.
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post #15 of 15 Old 05-21-2019, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Off topic but here it is- Had a 66 Corvette, 327/360. Got from my cousin as she couldn't fit after the 5th month. She thought it was a 350 but the exhaust system was different for the two engines. The 360 had a more open exhaust, giving the extra hp. Dad always said hindsight was 20/20.
Now- wife was reading the Minwax brochure and it said to use a pre-stain prep. Will read the brochures again and go to Lowe's and get the pre-stain prep and stain. The GF folks said their Enduro-Var is good for flooring. All I have to do is figure out how to trim out the open ends of part of the stairway. When we bought the house, it had carpet and a board that followed the contour of the steps and carpet.
Thanks to all for their replies.

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