Touching up finish on this small "Walnut" table
An older friend gave me this small wooden table. I admired its lines, and before I knew it, it was being given to me :) I did not get a good look at it until daylight today. Style and color (though darker) will go well with my 1930's walnut bedroom set.
Normally I can ID wood pretty well, but this one, I can't. It may not photograph well enough to tell. I don't expect it was ever a piece of quality high end furniture. I can see some grain in bright light but the stain is so dark I am guessing it is some inexpensive pine or something. Grain looks wide, not close.
I will clean it with mineral spirits and steel wool when it warms up outside. Unless someone can suggest something better? The carved table edge is full of grunge. My friend thought it was residue from some prior cleaning/refinishing attempt? If it is pine, it likely does not justify the effort to strip it. There are some glass rings on top, surface looks worn away or the finish was never strong enough to withstand liquid. My modest plans right now are to set it under a window with a plant or vase on it.
I would at least like to put a coat of something on the top to shine it up and make it possible for it to resist possible splashing.
So my best approach would be to: clean it, then...sand down the top? Use one of those surface refinishers like Formby's? I have also Howard's Restor-a-finish, which I have never tried. Or just coat it with a few coats of polyurethane or shellac?
Thanks for your help.