Dueling DIY: Stair Sanding, and More Sanding, and More Sanding

You’ll never guess what I’ve been doing on my stairs.


Yeah, actually… not that hard to guess.

I put a little time in on Saturday working on priming the banister in the upstairs hallway…


Then I pulled out the sanders and got to work.


This is currently a four-sander process. I used the belt sander (the one that looks like an armadillo) for the center of the treads. I use one of my Sonicrafters with the large sanding pad for the edges and corners, and then I use the other Sonicrafter with the small sanding pad for in between the spindles. Then the whole thing gets a final sanding of 100 grit with the orbital. Not at all tedious.


And here’s an illustration of how my ADD works: I’m about six steps into the sanding process when I decide to “take a little break from sanding” which ended up being five hours of painting basically every other wall in my house.

At the end of the day I was feeling pretty good about my progress on the mudroom, when all of the sudden Sarah (my Dueling DIY nemesis) started taunting me with her progress.


I repeat… shit.

I definitely didn’t get as much sanding done this weekend as I hoped, but I hear Sarah has like thirteen more coats of paint to put on her stairs, so I think I still might have a chance to pull ahead this week. You know, if I can refrain from smashing my thumb to a pulp in my car door again, which makes holding a sander super uncomfortable.


Don’t worry, it’s totally normal for my knuckle to be like three times larger than the rest of my finger. And the the fact that it clicks when I bend it is probably just temporary.

For real, W.T.Effff. is up with these hand injuries? It’s like Sarah and my fingers are conspiring against me on this challenge, but don’t think that’s going to stop me. Still, it definitely worked for this round because it’s clear that the Ugly Duckling House has pulled from behind and is totally kicking my ass this week… check out Sarah’s progress for yourself. (Spoiler alert: It already looks awesome.)

And the rest of the Dueling DIY Staircase challengers are definitely giving me a run for my money, but I’m not out of the race yet.

If I’ve left anyone out of the lineup, leave me a comment and let me know. And if you’ve got a staircase of your own to tackle, as you can see by my lack of progress, it’s not too late to join in.


13 Responses

  1. Looking good Kit. Are you going to do any tool reviews? Just curious – as I’ve been looking at belt sanders lately.

    I did finally grab the Makita 18v drill combo – sooo nice.

    Take care of that thumb!

  2. Hey, looking good… I’m totally with you on the ADD. This week I spent 3 full days sanding and re-varnished my livingroom floor. Brilliant!

    I have managed to do a little work on my stairs but I really have to get a wriggle on now. I reckon I’ll come last but I’m not going without a fight.

  3. We just moved into a new house and have been doing some home renovation of our own. Also started building a something for our wedding out of wood. I’m sick of sanding and my hands hurt all the time.

    I think I’ll let the fiance finish the sanding job.

  4. Looking good!

    We decided that redoing our stairs and upstairs hallway floors (both the same 81 year old original hardwoods and original stain job) is at the top of our list. While I won’t be hoping into the competition, I’ll hopefully be working right along side all you DIYers.

  5. I want to bring you a cold beer because it looks like you need one!

    You have inspired me to tackle the disaster that I call a staircase. It started with a leak that lead to carpet removal and we’ve been floating from one disaster avoidance to another. But hey – at least I have a reason to keep buying two buck chuck in bulk!

    I fear with your head start and my inability to do anything normal, I will be waaay behind you guys in progress. But if you want more company, I am in!

  6. Oy …that’s an interesting looking thumb you got there … *nervous-eye-twitch*

    I got waylaid this weekend with Little Man and a case of strep throat but managed to get in several hours of stripping (and a nice crunchy crust on my right hand courtesy of the heat gun). No worries though, I still have ways to go. You are safe :o)

  7. Looking great, I’m excited about starting my own staircase one of these days. I had to also mention the picture of your hallway upstairs is the same layout as mine too. I have to wonder if there was a generic floor plan for 1850’s houses.

  8. Hope that thumb heals quickly! Like a couple others, feeling like I want to get to work on my stairway, but I’m busy procrastinating, so no competition from me!

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