As part of operation "De-crack House for Thanksgiving" I decided to tackle the stairs. There are numerous issues with these stairs. First, the design is a little crazy. The railing at the 2nd floor is, I believe, 20" off the finished floor. While Marc and I are completely used to it, it makes guests feel like they are about to plunge to their deaths. In addition, the treads are pine and the risers are oak, so it is not like we can strip and stain both and have it match and look nice. Nope.
Our nightmare floor refinisher dude sanded and restained the treads (good), but he also removed and did not reinstall 15 of our pickets. We have been WAY too lazy to do that ourselves, so the weakness of the railing made the newel post SUPER unsecure (not helping with the guest's death-by-stairs fears).
Marc hates the stair railing and I do too. We will eventually remove it and do something modern. But in true de-cracking style, we (read: I) decided it must be fixed and painted. So I spent all weekend striping the risers and stringer of paint. Why not just paint over it? Because all of our woodwork was originally shellac'd, which is great except latex paint doesn't stick to it worth a damn. (Which led to Marc's paint peeling disorder and my subsequent multiple "WHY are you making our house look WORSE?" freak out sessions.)
I now have blisters on every single fingertip from the heat gun. The heat gun is pretty amazing, but it did make me realize that I DON'T want to strip and stain the woodwork in our house. The heat gun is really great at getting the majority of the paint off, but the thought of getting it out of every little crack and hole? No thanks. I think we will stick to the plan of having painted woodwork and stained doors (because those you can take off and have dipped!).
Having successfully NOT set my hair on fire with the heat gun. I moved on and then reinstalled all 14 of the 15 missing pickets I could find. Next up, we did a truly ingenious fix to the loose newel post. I installed two 6" long carriage bolts and tightened. Viola! Ready for paint. I'm pretty excited about this painting.
Oh, and I also installed the ceiling fan in the nursery. (Which included some Black Lung from going to the attic to install a new fan ceiling box.) The fan is a little bigger than we imagined, but it looks great and runs smooth and noiselessly.