Let me preface this by saying I know very little about woodworking and finishing. I have been reading and learning for some time about how to refinish my table, as a project to start learning about this sort of thing. However, the more I read and the more I learn about the table itself, the more I think this table is not worth it. And there are some questions I cannot answer, which I would like to ask here.
The table in question is a rectangular table, oak maybe, with a parquet veneer. This was given to me by my mother-in-law a few years ago, and was probably purchased in the early- to mid-1990s. After looking around and under the table, I'm pretty sure it's a parquet veneer, about 1/32" thick, over some type of particle board, maybe MDF, with a solid wood trim. The table has two, two-columned base legs, and includes one leaf. (Pics at the end of the post)
The table itself seems to be of decent construction. The chairs are stamped underneath "Made in China," but all pieces are solid. It's held together well for 15 or so years, through two families with multiple children, and several moves. I've had to replace screws and such as the legs have gotten wobbly, but otherwise it is heavy and does the job. All surfaces have moderate wear, with the table top, in particular, showing a lot of finish wearing. So I wanted to consider a long-term project of stripping and refinishing the whole thing, including chairs, to 1) a finish I like better (the original finish is a medium shade with flecks of darker brown paint throughout), and 2) pass down to my kids some day. But then I got to looking at the table leaf...
When I looked at the table leaf, for the first time I realized it is a different patterned surface. The staining and mold is exactly the same, but no parquet. (!?) It's just a solid stain, with the border as on the main table part. I wouldn't even think it was supposed to go with this table, except that it matches in every single way, aside from no parquet.
(First Question: Is this normal? Do they make tables with an intentionally mis-matched leaf??)
Then, as I looked at the cross-section of the leaf, I saw no seaming for a veneer whatsoever. It looks more like a laminate. Also, in places where there is wearing or gouging, it is straight to the MDF or particle board or whatever. (Again, pics at the bottom of the post.)
(Second Question: Is this also normal? For a manufacturer to make a table with a veneer but laminate the leaf?)
So then my other questions, as relates to the refinishing, are as follows:
1. Does the thin veneer on the main table top preclude a refinishing? Or will it just take extra patience and TLC? (I do understand that a project of this nature would be labor intensive and time consuming, I'm okay with that.)
2. Obviously the laminate (if that's what it is) on the leaf would preclude refinishing it at all. So would it be worth it to try to refinish the main table top to match the leaf? Or would it be worth refinishing the table itself to my own stain preference and tossing the leaf altogether?
And of course the main question, is this table redeemable or just a piece of junk?
Here's a link to pics for reference.
TIA for your time and advice!