Like I mentioned in my last post, I was going to start sanding the steps to the second floor of our house this weekend. And I have. Here's the "before" picture (I'll publish the "after" picture if that day ever comes).
They may look like they're in decent shape, but they're really very worn and in desperate need of a refinishing.
First let me say this - houses built in 1941 are cool - especially their woodwork. But whatever crap they used in those days to cover the woodwork is NOT cool! I don't know if it's varnish, lacquer, shellac or straight tree sap, but whatever it is - IT SUCKS!!!
My first instinct was to just begin sanding the steps with my slick new orbital palm sander. However, after 15 minutes of vibrating to the oldies, all I had managed to do was "scuff" the surface. Like I said, I don't know what secret formula was in those finishes back in the 40's, but I do know it don't come off!
Next, I thought I'd try chemicals. Not for me, for the steps. I had used Bix in the past at my first house and it worked great there. My only problem is I have a severe sensitivity to chemical odors so I have to really need them before I'll use them. In other words, the results have to be worth the massive headache.
So I globbed on the goo and let it sit. Thirty minutes later I came back and scraped the brown sludge off the wood and into a disposable container - so I could put it outside immediately. But you know what? It barely did anything. I've never had such a disappointing experience with a stripper before in my life. Well, except for one lap dance gone wrong - but that's another story you won't hear about.
Finally, I decided it wasn't worth it to fry my brain and went back to the sander. I put on some heavier grit and took my time. Sure enough, only 1 1/2 hours later I had an entire step completed!
So that's where I am right now. I figure if I complete one step a day I'll be done in... 12 days.
Hmmm, considering the fact this job involves chemicals and strippers - I guess it doesn't surprise me this is a 12-step project. And I've already admitted I have a problem...
I CAN'T GET THE STUPID FINISH OFF THE STEPS!!!