Refinishing gives new life to old, dingy and damaged drop-leaf tables. The following method uses basic supplies and produces professional-caliber results. This one-person job takes about one day. The required supplies are 80 grit sandpaper, fine sandpaper, a cone mask, a clean tack cloth, plastic sheeting, a tinted wood stain, clear water-resistant sealant and a wide paint brush.
Protect your work area
Move the table to a spacious work area and place it on a heavy plastic sheet. Remove nearby objects, or cover them with additional sheeting.
Remove the old finish
Put on your cone mask and scrub the table with 80-grit sandpaper. Continue until the wood is bare. Remove the sanding debris with a tack cloth.
Apply the stain
Apply the stain with long, even brushstrokes. Let it dry for 12 hours, then gently touch an inconspicuous part of the table. If the stain is still tacky, test it again after several more hours. Do not proceed until the table is completely dry.
Seal the table
Apply a coat of water-resistant sealant. Let it dry for one hour. Lightly rub the table with fine sandpaper, wipe it with a tack cloth and seal it again. Wait another hour. Once the second coat dries, sand the table again, wipe it with the tack cloth and apply the final layer of sealant.