The south rail of the Masonic Lodge was removed on Monday May 6 and returned Tuesday May 7 to both prevent further degradation and to test proposed methods and materials for repair. Safety precautions were taking in removing the paint, much of which was recent acrylic paint. A two page text explanation of the repair process is here.
In brief, very little wood needed to be replaced, even though this section was the most damaged by sun and rain. Some spindles (balusters) were stripped to almost bare wood, others were simply scraped and scratched, so that we could compare the end result and judge the necessity of aggressive removal versus simple encapsulation strategies.
This test project involved a dozen spindles and seven feet of railing. The two decks of the porch have about 120 feet of rail and over 200 spindles.