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I recently picked up a poker table at a garage sale. I'm not a big fan of the color as well as the damage to the top of the table either from heat or water. Can anyone tell me if it's possible to remove the stain/damage maybe by sanding and then re-staining? I've never work with wood before so I'm beyond new to this. I figured that since I picked up this table cheap, I may as well try to clean it up a bit and turn it to something I like and am proud of.

Please throw in your 2 cents as I need as much help as possible.

Thanks in advance.
 

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The first thing you should do is look at the underside of the top and see if you can determine if the top is veneer. I believe this area I've marked is veneer. If the wood on the underside is different than it's veneered. This would limit the amount of sanding you can do.

The finish is failing on the table so it is a good idea to refinish. You should start by cleaning the table with a wax and grease remover. Any furniture polish that might be on the table if you strip it will go into the wood. Then use a methylene chloride type paint and varnish remover. The finish is likely lacquer so will be a bit difficult to get off. Lacquer tends to melt and smear around instead of coming off. I think Strypeese remover unless you can find a commercial remover would do the best on lacquer. Once you start scraping the old finish off it will begin to dry back on so work small areas at one time and work fast. The residue left on can be rinsed off with lacquer thinner or if you have one use a power washer. The pressure should be 1200 psi or lower for wood or it can dig in. A lot of washers you can adjust the pressure down.

The stain is likely from water. Red oak turns black from frequent exposure to water. Before sanding you might try bleach and see if you can remove spot. This would reduce the amount of sanding it would take to clean it up. From there if it doesn't completely clean up the darker color stain you use the more it would cover up the spot.
 

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Just be careful if you want to save the wood.
Back in the 1990's, I tried refinishing a kitchen table that looked very similar to yours. The veneer on the surface was only about 1/64" thick. Literally, about the thickness of a dozen sheets of paper.
As soon as I sanded down through a couple of stains, I realized I was going right through the veneer.
Turned out okay, as I ended up stripping all the veneer off and putting a good looking Formica top on it.
 
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