preparation required for painting wood?

I've got a lot of wood (doors,frames,architrave,skirting,stair bannisters) in an Edwardian house to paint. It's currently painted in white (gloss I think) but may have serveral layers underneath. I want to paint it in white also( probably not gloss) but I'm not sure how much sanding I need to do before I can start painting. I'm also worried that lead paint may have been used on some of the wood. Is it sufficient to clean the wood and lightly sand it to ensure the new paint gets a grip?
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DIY Novice wrote:

Yes - a clean (if grimey, a more aggressive cleaner such as sugar soap can be a real win) followed by a light sanding. If it's all curves and mouldings, I find it least frustrating to use one of those 'flexisander' drill attachments - thin (3mm?) strips of abrasive-on-paper, or in the flashier variety little round 'fingers' of nylon or similar with abrasive embedded, radiating out from and "well secured" in (so wear goggles ;-) a central hub on the end of a shaft. Yer arms ache after holding it over your head to do the moulding at the top of the door, but it's quicker than sandpaper and has a better chance of giving you a key for the new paintwork further into the little grooves. Of course, if you're into Full Restoration, you can spend a couple of days stripping back to bare wood with your choice of chemical stripper (pricey, gungey, but thorough) or hot-air/blowtorch and curved scraper (can be faster, can leave some gouge marks till you perfect your technique, can be a real downer when (not if!) you discover the bottom layer is some weird half-varnish-half-shellac-half-polish-totally-horrid gunge which softens but doesn't really come off, and rather likes working its softened way into the grain... been there, done that).
As to lead - it'd matter if you were a painter-n-decorator sanding down lead paint every other day. For a one-off domestic exposure, you've inhaled a lot more from pre-low-lead-petrol days than you'll get from the sanding. Wear a mask if you like.
HTH - Stefek
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