Don’t do it.
So you might be preparing to decorate, and you might cast your eye around your staircase and notice maybe the thickly and sloppily painted staircase posts, maybe the slightly hairy and grubby skirting on either side of the steps and think ‘hang on, that looks like really nice wood’.
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking wouldn’t it be nice to strip that back, maybe stain it and give it a few coats of varnish.
Really. Stop right there.
You might be embarking on a journey that will last at least three weeks, and make you grubby, sweaty and miserable, probably give you lead poisoning, ruin all your clothes, take you on countless trips to the hardware store, go through acres of sandpaper, seas of paint stripper, and increasingly expensive machines for stripping and sanding.
Yes children, it happened to me. and my hell is not yet over.
The tragedy is that the finished effect (if it does finish) will probably not inspire a great deal of comment, appreciation or admiration of anyone. It won’t look particularly special for all the hard work. The only people that recognize the hard work for what it is and the curse you voluntarily took upon yourself will be those that trod the path before you. They might give you sympathy, a chuckle of shared knowing. But that is it.
So by all means, sand a little to take the decades of painty hair and fluff off. Fill a little, to smooth out the chips in the remaining paint. And then do the only decent thing to preserve your sanity. Paint the f*cker white again.