Just finished staining my third set of stairs and each time I do its a total nightmare with the stain not adhering well and not going on dark enough. So looking for some advice.
With this being the third time i've done this and i've tweaked my technique yet the staining is still frustrating, heres my process, feel free to tear it apart.
Stairs: 50 year old red oak, original clear finish, likely oil.
1. Belt sander
- This doesn't get the edges but strips very quickly.
2. Random orbital sander (ridgid 5")
- This is to get the edges and the spots the belt sander can't hit.
- 40 grit
- 80 grit
- 120/150 grit
This take a long time. Talking about 15 minutes per step at the 40/80 grit to get down to raw wood.
This is where my questions arise:
- Is this my sander not being strong enough?
- Or the old finish being too strong?
- Do i need a 6" sander
3. Mouse sander for corners
- using the new B&D mouse, it sucks, how else can I get into the corners without just hand bombing it?
4. Clean/vacuum/mineral spirits, let dry and inspect until it looks good.
5. Water-pop and let dry
6. Apply stain, wait 15 then wipe off.
7. when wiping off, several spots remain blotchy, mostly in the top right corner where the belt sander couldn't hit and along the sides so this really appears to be an issue with the previous finish not being full removed.
8. I end up hand sanding the fresh stain the spots that don't absorb stain then restain those spots. This is the third time i've had to do this
. End result is great but I hate having to do this every time.
9. Apply 4-5 varathane water based stain clearcoats, 1000 grit sanding between coats.
So I guess my main questions are:
- do the 5" sanders really suck at stair stripping or is it just me?
- Will a 6" work better?
- Should I consider a higher power unit like the festool?
- Would a different brand 5" work better that isn't 1000$ like the festool?
- Would a better sandpaper make that much of a difference?