Step 5: Finishing
Since the top was already finished, I decided not to strip away all that character and old varnish. Instead, plane down any surface inconsistencies, then clean the top thoroughly with denatured alcohol and steel wool. Then, add two or three coats of fresh wipe-on poly to seal and protect. Make sure to apply finish to the underside of the table as well, so that it doesn't absorb humidity unevenly, causing the surface to buckle over time.
Polish up the legs with a power sander, then ease the edges by hand to they aren't sharp or splintery. Make sure the doweled joints are sanded flush. Wipe with a damp rag.
Tape off the underside of the top and rub the legs with boiled linseed oil and a rag. Linseed oil is a cheap finish that brings out a warm glow while nourishing the wood. It is non-toxic and low-maintenance, easily refreshed with a new coat whenever necessary.