Refinishing your old furniture is a great way to redefine it and make it look newer. It can also be a fun DIY project that is not too demanding. It doesn't require a bunch of rare and expensive tools and the work is not too physical. Perhaps the only concern is that you have to work with stain chemicals and sawdust. These can both be harsh on your lungs and should not be inhaled.
Sanding Your Wood
The first step is to remove your existing finish, whether it be solid paint or a clear stain. You should use a vibrating power sander to speed up this process. You should also use two different types of sandpaper. Begin by using a rougher, medium grit paper. This should be used to remove about 90% of the stain. Then, change to an extra fine grit paper. This will leave behind a finish that is much smoother. However, you will still need one last step before you can actually apply any stain. Using steel wool to buff out the entire surface by hand is definitely necessary. It will create a surface that is perfectly smooth and ready for the application of the new finish. The sanding and steel wool will probably be the most time consuming part of the entire project.
Applying the Stain
Once all the prep work is done, applying the stain is usually very simple. The best way to apply stain is with lint-free rags. These will work better and create less spills than if you try to use paint brushes. If you just wear some latex gloves, you can dip the rag directly into the stain can and then rub it onto the wood. This technique works best if you have two separate rags. The one that you dip directly into the can will be wetter. The other can be kept dryer and used to absorb puddles and spread out the stain before it dries.
Using Steel Wool Between Each Coat
If you want to apply multiple coats of stain for more protection and a darker finish, you need to use the steel wool again. Once the first coat dries, you can buff it out with steel wool. This is very important because, if you apply multiple coats before using the steel wool, the surface will be smooth and the second coat will not stick well to it. Over time, it is more likely to peel away.
As you can see, refinishing hardwood furniture is not that difficult. You don't need any special tools or training, but you will need a little bit of patience because the job can be time consuming.