The window molding in my house feels very "rough," for lack of a better word. The house is 25 years old.
I assume this is from the sun beating down on the finish and wearing it down over the years, since the trim that is not in direct sunlight (like the top of the window molding) has held up much better.
The damage ranges, depending on which room you're in. Some moldings appear as if the stain has evaporated away. Some moldings have black discoloration in the corners (What is this?). Only one molding is in good shape.
The unfinished wood attracts a lot of dust. The moldings all have a perpetual layer of dust. When you dust it, more dust comes out and I can never really seem to get all of it out. As someone with allergies, this is terrible, and this is actually the main reason I am trying to repair it.
Here are photos (it's kind of hard to see what I'm talking about just by looking, which is why I took a bunch of photos):
(Notice how the vertical wood (on the right hand side) is much smoother and shinier than the horizontal wood in the following photo):
Kitchen window (it has a lighter stain, like butterscotch):
Here's the black stuff I mentioned earlier:
Here is the only window molding in the house that feels totally smooth and looks great. I don't know why this one hasn't deteriorated like the others just a few feet away from it. Maybe it's the figurines...
My first question: Can a newbie handle this project?
If it is easy enough for a beginner, how should I go about doing this? Please be as specific as possible...for example, instead of saying "sandpaper" please tell me what grit sandpaper to use. Assume I know nothing. Thanks in advance.