I mean, it wasn't ugly, it just wasn't my style. Ya know.
What you will need:
-about 300 and 400 grit sandpaper
-power sander (optional, but VERY helpful)
-Ebony (black) stain, $4
-Polyurethane varnish, about $30
-sponge brushes and 1 disposible paint brush
- rubber gloves
1. You will start by brushing on a generous layer of paint stripper to the surface of your table. The stripper will start to dry so you will want to add another couple of layers and then scrap it off with your plastic scraper. This will get the layer of varnish off the table so the stain can soak into the wood.
2. After as much of the varnish has been removed, you can start sanding the wood with about 300 grit sandpaper. Using a power sander will take most of the elbow grease out of this job, but it's not necessary.
3. After the wood has been sanded and you don't see any signs of old varnish, begin applying your stain with a rag. I allowed a full day for each coat to soak in. Towards to end you will know when your wood has soaked in as much stain as possible because it won't completely dry, but will stay tacky.
4. After you have the desired stained look, using a sponge brush, apply a layer of polyurethane varnish. Allow 24 hours to dry, sand with 400 grit sandpaper, and add another layer. Repeat.