Friday, May 11, 2012

Sanding my life away

While Titus was hard at work removing the linoleum, I was sanding everything in site. Since we were installing new dark laminate floors, I would need to refinish our oak stairs with a darker stain to match.  I was also planning on staining/painting our railing.  With the railing I would be staining the parts parallel to the floor and also the large posts, and painting the balusters.

Unfortunately step 1 of the staining process is sanding for days.  Literally days.  I sanded all day Saturday, Sunday, after work Monday, and just a little while after work Tuesday.

I slapped on my dust mask and an attractive set of safety glasses and was ready to go.  I sanded the stair treads first using my Ryobi orbital sander.  After sanding the top tread which took about thirty minutes, I moved to the next tread down.  This is the point in which I found that the orbital sander was too tall to fit under the top tread so it would be impossible to sand the very back of the tread using this sander.  So we journeyed to Home Depot and bought a Ryobi detail sander.  This thing is pretty bad at what it does.  It barely vibrates at all.  I wouldn't recommend ever even considering purchasing this.  However, it was nice and stiff so I used it as a sanding block by moving it back and forth myself.  Hard to explain... 

I knew I was done sanding each tread when there was no shininess left anywhere and most of the previous stain was gone.  It basically looked like it had never been stained and just came out of a tree

Next, I had to face my demons:  sanding the actual railing.  When sanding the top railing and large posts I used the orbital sander.  To sand the bottom of the railing between the balusters I used the crappy detail sander which was slightly beneficial for this.  To do all the weird grooves and other dumb parts I used a sanding sponge and abs.  After I sanded the entire railing I found a tutorial online of someone who had used Polyshades without any sanding.  I cried.  Then I remembered how good of an ab and arm workout I had just gotten and my sadness faded.

Look at that bare wood.  Pride is radiating through me.  Another three days gone from my life and totally worth it.  But, now I had to clean up my mess.

People suggest you block off the rest of your house from your area of destruction, but that wasn't really possible in this case, so I just closed all the doors before I started sanding and mentally prepared for cleanup.  Most of the mess wasn't terrible.  I vacuumed and dusted the living room, and Titus cleaned the trio floor since he had been simultaneously demolishing it.  The worst clean up was the walls.  They are saw dust magnets.  There were piles of sawdust on the doors in the entryway and on the top window, and whenever I tried to wipe it off, more sawdust went into the air and was sucked onto the walls.  There is still sawdust on our walls.  It may never leave.

Such joy in my face.  And look at all the dust on the gray part of the wall!  It almost looks like the crazy yellow it denies ever being.

During this lung clogging process, Jacque was imprisoned downstairs.  He was sad, but it was for his own safety.  Look how cute he is trying to sneak back into the hazardous air.

Finally, the very much unfinished before and after:


  1. You certainly are a glutten for punishment!!! The look of pride on your face, however, shows you like your work. So that makes it all worth while.
    I'm wondering if you are going to leave the little patch of carpet on the edge of the landing part.... It doesn't seem to fit in any more. What do you think???

    1. Titus took it off before I started staining the railing don't worry!