How to Sand a Stair Spindle

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape

  • Pen

  • Paper

  • Sandpaper sheets: 80 grit, 200 grit, 300 grit

  • Shears

  • Tack cloth

Spindles are a highly visible part of the stairway.

A stair spindle refers to the skinny, often wooden vertical pole that supports a banister. These often bear the name baluster and span the length of the banister or rail. If you're refinishing your banister or your staircase in its entirety, you have to refinish each and every spindle on the staircase as well, since spindles are such a highly visible part of the staircase. A crucial part of the refinishing process is the task of sanding. Sanding both removes the old finish, strips away flaws and preps the wood to receive the new finish.


Step 1

Wrap a measuring tape around the stair spindle at its narrowest and widest diameter. Write down the two different measurements.

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Step 2

Cut a strip of 80-grit sandpaper. Make it 2 inches longer than each width you wrote down in Step 1 by 1 inch wide with a pair of shears. Cut another strip of sandpaper the same length and 2 inches wide. Cut another piece of sandpaper of the same length and 4 inches wide. Repeat with 200-grit and 300-grit sandpaper, respectively. This gives you a large palette of sizes to choose from when you're sanding, which is ideal for intricately carved stair spindles.


Step 3

Wrap a piece of 80-grit sandpaper with a 1- or 2-inch width around the narrower or more carved parts of the stair spindle. Rub sandpaper back and forth, removing all the old finish. Wrap a 4-inch wide piece around the smoother and less detailed parts of the spindle. Rub it back and forth, removing the old finish. Repeat with your 200-grit and 300-grit sandpaper.

Step 4

Wipe down each stair spindle with a tack cloth to eliminate the dust from sanding.


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