50 year old pine staircase:
4 coats of paint and 1 of primer stripped during last couple of months. Working my way down (around family and dog) and have rough sanded and varnished 3 stairs. I'm not interested in a silky smooth finish, I'm going through 40, 60 and 120 grit abrasives using a 1/2 sheet, a 1/3 sheet and a delta sander. I'm not too fussed about the odd dusty, grotty scratch, nail hole or paint filled pit; they're all 'character' and anyway, I can't be bothered doing more than an hour a day with machines that are killing the nerves in my hands but...... 4 days now! 4 days of twice my allotted time with the machines on just 1 stair tread! I didn't appreciate just how badly things had gone until following the first day and seeing it in the morning light of a November sunshine. The poor artificial light from the bulb just off the top of the stairs the evening beforehand had not shown the ruddy mess I had made in all its cherry-red glory. I had assumed that I was just having an 'off day' when my abrasive papers had clogged rapidly but I changed them and carried on regardless. Stupid!!
When I saw how red the tread had become I realised that it was the same hue as the (cheap brand) aluminium oxide paper I was using so I waited for the rather more expensive fabric backed stuff to arrive by post. In the meantime, I worked through quite a number of (black) silicone carbide coated delta sheets which went a good way into removing the red but before they'd abraded as deeply as the red had penetrated, they began to leave a black tinge in the wood.
I've turned down the speed for as long as I dare on my 1/3 sheet sander (manufacturer does not recommend anything but full speed to preserve the life of the motor) and vacuumed (to help declog) the abrasive on that and my other, slower (much more 'vibraty') machines but the particularly resinous nature of this tread seems determined to absorb the colour from the papers even long before the wood or the paper are warm to the touch and long before (I think) the resin should be melting.
So finally, my questions; is there any way I can neutralise the resin to stop the bleed from paper to pine? I've tried meths. Is there anything that can 'bleach out' (bleach doesn't work) the red? I've got other things I'd rather do than sand by hand so I'd appreciate any nuggets of wisdom you may offer, particularly since I've taken a look at the grain patterns in a couple of the other stairs and I think I might face the same problem with those; I know I said I don't mind a bit of 'character' on this project but aluminium oxide red is not part of that.
I do hope you can help. Thanks in anticipation, JSM