Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Baby Has Arrived!

Fourteen of them, actually.

Early in the morning this past Saturday.

. . . in case you think I'm suddenly running a foundling home or have been invaded by the offspring of particularly fecund kinswomen, I'd better explain.

The websites explaining how to sand down your floors for refinishing consistently say it's a three-step process:  rough sanding, medium sanding, and fine sanding.  And, if I may quote, after the fine sanding the wood "should be as smooth as a baby's bottom."

Well, when it comes to the fourteen treads of my main staircase, the baby has arrived.  The rough places that could be sanded down have been sanded down, and the holes and dings that were too deep to sand down have been filled.  Tackled them with the 80-grit paper (medium) last Monday and Thursday, and had at it with the 120-grit this past Friday night.  So this stage is done, done, done.

I think the nosings came out well enough.  Most of them had to be rerounded, due to hard wear.  Trickiest thing is keeping myself from being deceived by the work light into mistaking a wood grain line for an edge that needs more knocking down.  I didn't touch the nosings with the 40-grit paper, oh, no.  80 and 120 only, and finished off with some sanding sponges I forget the grit rating of, but which helped me create a consistent curve.

(And concerning this picture of the bottom tread nosing:  No, it's not Perfectly Clean.  But it's clean enough for the seven coats of shellac it's going to get.  And it's a heckovuhlot cleaner and better than it was in July of 2007 when I removed the carpet and revealed what you see in this post.  Scroll down five photos and blast your eyes with that!)

After the sanding was finished, I gave the stairs a quick vacuuming and a go-over with a tack cloth, then put the cardboard tread protectors back and at around 3:00 AM went to bed.  No reno work to speak of accomplished over the weekend-- I had other things to do.  But on today's agenda is cutting thin strips of wood to fill in the hinge and strike mortises in two of the stairhall doorways that used to have doors but now don't.  The mortise routings were filled or covered up before, but not in a way that would take an natural finish.

Wish me luck at not slicing my fingers while I'm at it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Filling Holes

Just to prove I continue to make progress, here are my stairs with the holes I filled yesterday.

I hope to get the treads medium-sanded tomorrow.  No excuse not to, even if I do get called in to work.

But here's something scary:  When I was cleaning up the dust on the stairs and bannister rail yesterday, I noticed I had cracks in my wall plaster at the point where the wall opens up to the downstairs hall and the downstairs ceiling comes in.  That place was really bad a year and a half ago, and I put a lot of work into pulling up the plaster and spackling the cracks.  Now I have this three-way hairline in the faux finish paint job.

Carp.  I don't know if it's the plaster or the spackle.  Either way, can't things just stay fixed?