Refinishing plywood stairs

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Q: I pulled up my carpet on the steps in my split foyer, and I found what looks like plywood. I tried to sand, stain and poly it but I cannot get a smooth finish all over. What can I do to fix this? Also, I would like to take the paint off the hand rails and finish them as well. How do I do this?

A: You will likely need several coats of finish, lightly sanding between each coat. Make sure all dust is removed before brushing on another thin coat. Use a chemical stripper and a lot of elbow grease on the hand rail.

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