What is your time worth? Unless it is an impossible-to-duplicate
profile, or some fine old quarter-sawn oak (which is a sin to paint),
usually less work and a lot faster to rip and replace with new stock.
And of course, 'old house' (pre 1970s) usually means lead-based paint,
if the trim is already painted. So in addition to the mask, you now have
area containment and cleanup.
Just sayin', look at all your options.
-- aem sends...
The best way, of course, is to remove the trim and take it outside. There
you can patch dents and holes and sand to your heart's content.
That said, if this is door trim, you might try taping plastic sheets to the
walls and ceilings surrounding the area, leaving an area the size of a
'phone booth. You and your sander get inside and do your work. When done,
introduce a vacuum hose into the cordon sanitaire to gather the dust.
There are also sanders with vacuum hose attachements (and corresponding
sandpaper) that will suck up (most of) the sawdust as you work.
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