Refinishing Oak Stairs

My husband and I just purchased a home that was completely wall to wall carpeted. When we removed the old carpet we found lovely oak floors which we intend to sand and refinish. My problem is with the oak stairs. The previous owner covered them with linoleum tile stuck down with black mastic. Both the stairs and the risers were heavily scored. I have managed to get the tiles and the mastic off ("Foam Off" worked great) but the gouges from scoring are not sanding out. The stair feels smooth to the touch but I am left with these black lines all over the stairs. I have used 50 grit sandpaper and as much muscle as I can muster and can't seem to sand out these lines. I have used both a palm sander and have tried hand sanding. Can anyone offer some advice on what I can try next? I am almost at the point of resigning myself to having to paint them but it would break my heart to cover the oak.
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I don't know is the black lines are from the old mastic but you could try using plain old bleach. Pick a small, not too obvious area on a tread and try dabbing a little on the stain, let it soak in and see if that helps, I once used it to remove old pet stains on oak floors.
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Kelly wrote:

You need different tools. A scraper would work better and faster than sanding - also no saw dust flying everywhere.
http://ace.imageg.net/graphics/product_images/pACE-961259reg.jpg
It's still a lot of work and muscle, though, and you'd still need to sand to get a smooth finish.
Failing that, a belt sander with someone holding a vaccum to such up most of the dust.
Another alternative is to clean up only about 6" on either side and have a carper stair runner.
R
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Oak is a porous material. The lines may go very deep, beyond normal sanding.
On one tread, take a gouge and see how deep you have to go to remove it all and you can plan from there.
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