Building your own wooden staircase is a great way to save money, gain a unique and personal addition to your home and to get the satisfaction that comes with a job well done. The great thing is that it's not as difficult as many people think and with just a moderate amount of woodworking skill, the right tools and a good set of plans almost anyone can actually build their own personal staircase.
One of the main problems that people have when undertaking major woodworking projects at home is actually finishing the job, when the major part of the undertaking is complete many individuals feel an anticlimax and neglect one of the most important jobs of all. I'm talking about completing the fine detail of the job, I'm talking about what can be the most laborious part of the staircase building, I'm talking about sanding. Hand sanding a full set of stairs could take weeks and that's not the only problem; the main problem is sanding to a smooth enough finish while retaining an even flatness across the stairs and retaining the good edges that are an important safety feature of staircases. The answer is to go mechanized; the answer is a palm sander.
The palm sander, known in the US as a detail sander, is one of the most versatile and useful of all power sanders. It is called a palm sander because it's small enough to fit into the palm of one hand and is light enough to be used like that for extended periods of time. But do not let that small size give you the wrong impression, despite its diminutive size the palm sander is a real workhorse that'll save you hour and hours of precious time in almost any woodworking project.
Right now back to that staircase, imagine that you've finished the job, all the stairs are in place, the riser is fitted, the banister is perfect and the whole thing looks great; from a distance. But look up close and you'll see a quite different story, the flat panels of the stairs are still rough pine, all splinters and rough edges. Now imagine the thought of hand sanding all that flat wood; does not sound too good a job right? Well you do not have to, because with a palm sander you'll make short work of all those flat surfaces and keep your edges nice and sharp. Each step, instead of taking a couple of hours at least, can now be sanded in just a few minutes to a great, very smooth surface and with the minimum of effort.
So for any sanding job, big or small, it's time to get mechanized with an electric detail sander.