So I decided to post a simple instructable about how I refurbished an old patio set that I got off craigslist for FREE!!! Hopefully this will help someone with a similar project!
What you'll need:
Electric Sander (or sanding blocks)
Wood Stain (I use Minwax Stains, they are available at almost all hardware stores)
Clear Wood Lacquer (I use Deft Lacquer)
Foam Brushes (less than $2 at home depot)
Misc. Screws (dependent on project, mine were all rusty so I took them to home depot and they helped me find the same sizes)
And of course something to refurbish!!!!
Step 1: Get to Sanding!!!
Alright, so the first step is to take apart the table and chairs as much as possible, this will help you to sand it easier and will also help to have the stain go on more evenly. So, sand down all the grime and worn down stain off of the table and chairs. This hardly took any time at all on mine since it had been outside and the weather had pretty much taken most of the finish off of the table and chairs. You don't necessarily have to get the color all the way off if you are going to stain it a darker color than it already is. I used an electric sander on the top and bottom of the table and a sanding block for the legs and the chairs. After you have it all sanded your ready to move on to the next step!!!
Step 2: Staining
Ok, so the next step is to start to stain the table and chairs, make sure you do this on a flat even surface so there is no chance of your stain running. Also, be sure to lay down some paper or something that can get stain on it, wood stain will stain even your driveway so be careful (hence the name stain, ha ha). I also wear gloves when I stain and keep a rag handy, it's really hard to get off your hands. To apply the stain I use foam brushes, I've found that they help to apply wood stain evenly.
This picture is after the 1st coat I put on (I wanted a darker color). You really only need 1 coat, but if you want it to be a darker shade you can apply more, just do them VERY LIGHT, other wise your table will become sticky because the stain does not penetrate the wood.
Step 3: Finish Staining and Apply the Lacquer
Alright, so after you get the color where you like it is time let the stain dry for at least 24 hours (this helps it really soak in). After that it is time to apply the clear wood lacquer. I recommend that you do this in a wide open space outside, IT IS VERY TOXIC so be sure to wear a mask or take breaks often. I apply the lacquer in very light coats (according to what is on the can) and use up the whole can to make sure that I get a nice thick coat on there to help protect it. I then let it dry for at least 2 or 3 days, this help the lacquer to really harden and will help prevent it from dings and scratches. Once the lacquer is all dry simply put the table and chairs back together and you have a nice refurbished patio set, in my case for FREE!!!!
ps: I highly recommend keeping an eye on the free section of craigslist, I have found multiple pieces of free furniture that were in good shape, just the color was worn out so no one wanted it, but it is really simple to refurbish these pieces and have great new looking pieces of furniture!!!