I have this nice semi-round table that we disassembled and hand carried back from Peru several years ago. It has been in the basement since. We are getting around to cleaning it up for reassembly. We like it a lot and want it to look nice when done, and not damage it along the way. I'd like to keep as much of the original color/finish as possible. There are a lot of carved embellishments (first picture). I have refinished other furniture along the way, but nothing as ornate or unique as this. Usually, strip/sand/stain/polyurethane. I want to be more thoughtful and careful here.
This table is a light/softish wood (not heavy like oak or maple). It has been stained a dark, almost black, color. It is solid wood - no laminates. It seems to be relatively unfinished (maybe waxed?) except for the flat surfaces.
The tops (there are two surfaces - upper and lower) have been varnished or something. The finish has come off in places. (the picture where I am pointing and the pebbled-looking surface all around it) So, how to I get the varnish off and/or refinish it without damaging the color too much. I don't want to sand it because I want to color to match the rest of the piece. I am guessing I'll ultimately put a high quality wax or shellac/lacquer on top to finish it afterwards (but I am open to suggestions
) I don't want to polyurethane.
My last conundrum: There is some heavy, caked on dirt on the legs (picture 3). I can't tell if it is wax buildup or residue from a 'environmental' situation (in a kitchen or something) but it is hard, not easily rubbed off or scratched off with a fingernail. This dirt is not on all if the 4 legs, only on one side of two of the legs.
I sincerely appreciate any suggestions you can make. Thanks in advance.
Be safe, be well.