I want to punch our risers in the face; if risers on staircases had faces (or would it be singular “a face”?) but they don’t, so I can’t. GAH!
Yesterday I was chipper and optimistic. Today, not so much.
We naively began sanding the risers last Wednesday. We started using a palm sander with 40 grit sandpaper. It.took.forever. But slowly we were seeing a difference. That is until the pad you stick/clamp the sandpaper to wore out.
Now the sandpaper doesn’t make great contact with said riser. Also, it clamps kinda funny so the super thick 40 grit sheet does get pulled taut and therefore just snaps at the clamp. This would be the same pad that Home Depot does NOT stock. Some internet search found that Sears may, but I have to call. Otherwise we have to have it shipped from DeWalt.
So Wednesday evening, when we realize that the palm sander just isn’t cutting it, we move on to plan B. Bring in the bigger guns!
Enter the Black & Decker 3″x21″ Dragster Belt Sander.
According to the description, uses include:
- Reaches to sands under kitchen cabinets
- Sand decks to the edge – under railings.
- Between spindles and banisters
- Sanding large surface areas – Floors, Counter Top
- Fast and aggressive material removal on rough surfaces like decks or table tops
- Smoothing uneven edges or lips like uneven hardwood floors
- Hard to reach areas
And this baby has power! Awesome.
We didn’t purchase said “Big Gun” until late last Wednesday evening. At 10pm, 4 steps into the last staircase, we decided our neighbors would probably appreciate it if we turned the power tools off.
We left for the shore knowing there was more sanding to do but confident we could finish it up this week.
Last night, we went back over to finish. Plugged everything in and picked back up with the 4th step down (we’d left off in the middle of it).
We were finding that the “Big Gun” was leaving ridges in the risers. It’s a large sander for such a small space. There’s not a lot of room to keep it moving, which is essential for all sanders but especially belt sanders.
Rob worked his way down the stairs.
And I followed with the palm sander to even things out.
About 5 minutes into sanding, I made an awful realization.
We can’t have nice things.
Immediately I told Rob to stop but damage was already done.
If you look closely at the belt sander, you may notice a small black knob on the right side.
If that knob is on the top, you can get the belt pretty close to the tread, moving toward the banister. However, when you hold the sander in the OTHER direction, moving toward the wall, that knob is now on the bottom of the belt. It’s also now on the side that’s already farther away from tread because of the placement of the belt.
You can see where I’m going with this.
Unknowingly, we were dragging said knob across our treads.
Our brand-spanking-newly-refinished treads.
Yup. It’s official. We can’t have nice things.
Ever the eternal optimist (even when I’m grouchy), I guess it could be worse. We could have kept going and noticed only when vacuuming up all the sawdust after we were all done.
Luckily we stopped as soon as we realized. It seems only 2 of them (the 2 in these pics) are badly scratched up. And it’s all right close to the riser, not far out into the middle. With a little touch up stain & sealer we should be able to fix it. It’ll add “character.”
But it’s just one more thing added to the ever-growing, never-shrinking TO DO list.
I think we will be purchasing a few new pads for the palm sander and taking the slower, yet less destructive, path to sanded risers.