Refinishing Staircase - Please Help!

Hello Everyone, My wife and I recently bought a 1927 Tudor in WA and one of the first of many projects we have attempted to tackle is to refinish the staircase and baseboard and door trim in the staircase area. The stairs was covered with this terrible old carpet, and the wood work seemed nice, so we decided to strip and stain everything. OK, we now feel like we might have bitten off more than we can chew, but we've stuck it out and made some good progress. We removed the carpet, the carpet tack strips and have stripped 7 (yes 7 coats of paint) ranging from oil based to lead based purple, to green to pink(someone had no taste). Anyway, we've stripped everything and sanded everything with 60 grit, so their is no paint left. We're about 60 hours into the project at this point, whew!
The wood if fir I think, as it does not match the oak floors in the nearby living room and the upstairs are also a wider plank soft wood (pine?/fir?). Anyway, I was hoping to get some advise on how to proceed from here as I've never refinished any floors. I was going to do 100 then 150 grit on everything, but how do I prep and stain the stairs, etc. and what methods, resources or types of stain/sealers would everyone recommend? Any help for this novice DIYer would be greatly appreciated. I think it will look so nice when finally done. Thanks in advance! -David
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I suggest your next step is to decide what finishes you will use, as the preparation can vary depending on that. If you want to stain, try to pick up some raw wood that matches what you have, and cut it into small pieces to use as samples. With these, you can compare the results from different stains, and between multiple or single applications. Be warned, however, that even though you have removed the paint, some residue may remain, and may affect how any stain will be absorbed.
If your wood is attractive as it is, you may want to skip the staining altogether. When I did ours, I put varnish on all but the treads, and used water based low sheen urethane for the treads. The varnish was because I had some sitting around and I like the look. The low sheen waterborne urethane was on the recommendation of an expert, because I wanted something that would minimize slippage and would dry quickly, since our only bathroom is upstairs. We left the stairs uncarpeted, because the wood looks so good.
Whichever finish you pick, be certain to put a lot of effort into following the recommended preparation, as you can't get a good final product without good prep.
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paint has been removed that some residue may remain that may effect staining. How would I know if there is any residue left? Would you recommend any cleaners that I should use to further prep the surface before staining? How about wood bleach or oxacylic acid, I think it's called. Should I bleach the wood to remove the old rust/black stains where all the nails were. I think the carpet installers used a machine gun to put the carpet tacks in. There were thousands! Thanks, David
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Oxalic Acid removes the black stains nails cause in oak. It is one of the wood bleaches and is sold in big box or paint stores, read the label to be sure. Once wood is sealed it resists penetrating stains. There are gel stains that lay on the wood that you might try.
On 26 Apr 2004 15:21:05 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@spencer-lawfirm.com (David) wrote:

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David wrote:

Sorry, but this has gone beyond the boundaries of my experience. I was told of the difficulties staining previously finished wood, so I have never tried it. I've been lucky in that we had no black stains when we redid our floors, but I have read that oxacylic acid is the recommended treatment for that. Right now I have a black spot in the living room so I bought some oxacylic acid, but it seems to me that to get the spot out I will have to limit the application to the spot, and not the surrounding wood, or end up with a light and lighter section, so I put the piano over the spot while I think about it. Its been about a year and the piano is working well.
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Oxalic acid is packaged as wood bleach but its' real purpose is countering the chemical reaction of nails and oak. For bleaching colors from wood the 2 part bleach typically called A&B is used. Find a scrap of wood like the floor, drive a nail into it and moisten it to get the black stain. Try the oxalic acid on that. Don't believe the reaction will be as severe on surrounding wood as you're concerned about. Finish would have to be stripped over the black spot anyway.
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