Filling Holes and Priming
(My Life is SO Exciting!)
I've probably walked up and down our stairs hundreds of times and never noticed all the little holes, gaps, and dings. Guess there is truth in the saying, "You see what you look for". And I was obsessed with finding and filling every little hole.
I made several passes at finding all the holes, each time thinking I'd finally found the last one. In the end I was hearing voices - my old Yankee friend, BB, who would respond to my obsessing about some minor imperfection with , "It'll never be seen on a trotting horse", and my latent OCD tendencies saying, "What, you're not going to fill that millimicron hole??" I finally just had to declare it done, even though I'm sure there are still some I missed.
I try to use the wood filler very sparingly for each hole/gap - removing as much extra as possible before it dried to limit the amount of sanding that needs to be done. I did go over every hole with a sander once the filler had dried to make sure the surface was smooth. Then wiped it down with a tack cloth to remove any dust left behind (and to get the OCD devil off my back!).
A word of caution about wood filler - despite the label that identifies some filler as "stainable", I've never had good luck staining it. In my experience, the filler takes on a little color, just enough so that it looks dirty but in no way matches the rest of the stained wood. I haven't tried the pre-colored fillers - maybe they work better, but since they only seem to come in small tubes, wouldn't be very practical for this big project. My stairs are getting painted, so I wasn't worried about the lovely orange filler color. If I were going to re-stain the wood, I would NOT fill the holes. I'd rather have holes and gaps than orange spots, but that's just me.
Holes filled; time to move on to staining. First step was to tape so I didn't get paint on the newly painted walls. I like the new Scotch Blue Tape - Advanced Delicate Surface; it's specifically for newly painted walls. No seepage underneath and no lifting of wall paint.
It took two coats of primer (and multiple cans of Diet Coke) to cover the stairs and all 59 spindles. It's beginning to look like I might actually finish these this year!
Confession - yes, I left the carpet cushion on and painted around it. OCD gods be damned!