How to clean/prep window boards for varnishing

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I'm looking for advice on how to remove various marks/stains from these window boards so that I can varnish them.

The marks/stains are a combination of grease(?), emulsion and ingrained plaster dust.

No amount of sanding with 180 grit paper is having much positive effect.
 

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markjg123, good evening.

Looks as if you have tried really hard so far.

Can i suggest you look at a Joiners Scraper? Google this tool and have a look on YouTube ?

Ken.
 
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Thanks Ken.

I've not seen these before but they look ideal. I'm going to order one and give it a go. It looks relatively straightforward to use one.
 
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If you are going to be using oil based varnish, wipe the area with white spirit. Whilst wet, it will give you an indication of what it will look like when varnished.

I wouldn't imagine that the grease marks will be an issue. The emulsion- I'd recommend dropping down to 80 grit and then using your 180 grit.

180 is more of a "finishing" grade paper rather than a "stock removal" paper.
 
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