Cutting back the nosings

Q: I’ve taken carpet off stairs and am preparing to lay oak on treads and oak veneer on risers. I plan to leave spruce stringers and just repaint them. But I can see that when I cut back the existing nosings of about 1 3/8″ to be flush with riser there will be an ugly gap and rough edge of the existing nosing in the stringer where I cut the nosing back, which will not be fully covered by new solid oak nosing.

If I simply sand, wood fill this, and then paint over it, will that work or is there a better technique? Also, what’s the best power tool to use to cut back the nosings so I can get in tight to the stringers?

A: You could leave the cut off end of the existing overhang in the stringer. Just apply some adhesive to keep it stable. This can reduce the amount of patch or fill needed.

I have several tools I use to cut these lips off. A worm drive saw is the fastest for the main length to be cut off. For the last few inches leading up to the stringer I have a tool called a Supercut made by Fein. Or, you could use a jig saw with a special flush cutting blade, or a sawz-all, or a hand saw.