If the top of your wooden table is looking a bit uneven, blotchy, or dinged, you may figure that the table has reached the end of its serviceable lifespan. But this is not the case at all. It will take a little elbow grease, but you can get that table top looking nice again by sanding and refinishing it. Just follow this guide for sanding tables and refinishing them.
Step 1: Sanding
First, you need to sand the current finish off the tabletop. You can do this by hand, using coarse-grit sandpaper followed by fine-grit sandpaper. Or you can rent a hand sander from a local rental company. The hand sander will be a lot easier on your hands, and you'll have an easier time sanding away any dings or bumps in the tabletop. Keep on sanding until the entire tabletop looks smooth, and you cannot see any remains of finish.
Step 2: Removing Dust
Once you're finished sanding, you need to get rid of the powdery wood dust. The easiest way to do this is by going over the table with a shop vac, and then wiping it down with a damp cloth. Then, let the table dry for an hour before moving on to this next step.
Step 3: Apply the New Stain
Look for a stain that is the same color as the legs and other parts of the table. Or, you can choose a different color and enjoy the contrast between the tabletop and the rest of the table. Dip a piece of cloth or sponge into the stain, and wipe it across the table. Be generous with the stain at first. Once the entire table is coated, let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then take another dry cloth, and rub the stain into the wood, being careful to go with the grain.
Let the newly stained surface dry for a day or longer.
Step 4: Apply a Sealer
Dip a sponge brush into a polyurethane, waterproof sealer. Use it to apply an even coat of the sealer to the tabletop. Make sure you do not apply so much that it drips down the sides of the table. Let the first coat of sealer dry for 2 hours, and then apply a second coat.
Once the second layer of sealer is fully dry, which takes about a day, you can use your table. Do not place anything heavy or overly hot on it for another week or two, as this gives the sealer longer to cure.