John the handyman came over as promised on Wednesday morning at about 8:30 am. He was still there when I got home from work at about 3:15 pm, just finishing his clean-up. I know it would be difficult to mess up sanding flat pieces of wood, but I was still nervous about what I would find. I have control issues with people working on my house; I'm going to be terrible with babysitters!
But I didn't need to be worried. The stairway is fine, and I've only found maybe 3 spots that could use some touch-up sanding. We'll knock that out this weekend, and we should have a fully refinished stairway within a few days. It was definitely worth $150 to save myself 7 hours of work and untold pain and aggravation. Poor John, though. I don't think he'd agree to this project if I asked him again... Not that I blame him!
I'm more nervous about finishing the stairway that I've been about any other project. Thankfully, I've worked out a "system" for refinishing, and I know a lot more about staining and shellacking than I did when I first started sanding the stairs. But it's just so BIG. It takes up an entire wall in the living room and is extremely visible. If it doesn't look good, it will ruin the whole room. Yikes. I'm also nervous because the top 5 stairs that we disassembled and refinished look sort of orange-y. I'm not sure if it's the lighting on that part of the stairs, since the wood there is the same as the wood everywhere else in the house and I used the same method to refinish it... But if I end up with an orange stairway, I'm going to cry. A lot. I think I'm going to test the color on one spindle and one tread to see what it looks like. It would be strange to switch stain colors halfway through a project, but I just want to be sure it's right. I couldn't take having to sand it all down again.
So... Stairway touch-up sanding tonight or tomorrow afternoon, then sealing and staining on Sunday. Wish me luck!!