Let me present to you for the second time, my new old table. I have put more time and energy into this second hand hunk of wood than anyone with a lick of sense should. I never said I had a lick of sense though, so there you go. (I hope y'all can understand me when I speak southern)
This time around, I first stripped off the polyurethane using this. Worked great and took about 45 minutes to completely strip several layers of poly. I then gave it a good cleaning with lacquer thinner. The next morning I sanded it using my mouse sander beginning with a medium grit paper and finishing with a fine grit. I didn't take all the stain off, just the poly. My initial plan was just to seal the wood using a sanding sealer and then apply paste wax to protect. I wanted to retain a weathered look and wanted very little, if any sheen. Once I coated it with the sanding sealer, the different colors in the wood popped out. The dark tones were especially pronounced. It looked pretty, but not what I wanted. So this morning I mixed equal parts of white paint and untinted latex glaze. I added a bit of dark gray paint (a tiny bit) and then added some water. How do you like that scientific recipe? It was a very thin consistency. Then I just went to town on the table using a dry brush technique. Just dab a bit of paint on your brush and wipe most of it back off on a paper towel. Go over the surface with light pressure with very thin layers of paint. I wiped over lightly with a paper towel to smooth out any obvious brush strokes. Once I was happy with the coverage, I let it dry for about 45 minutes in the sun. For protection I coated it with two layers of Minwax Paste Wax. It gives it a slight sheen, but more than that, it gives depth to all the layers of paint and it allows for easy clean-up. Hopefully, it will hold up better than the polyurethane did. If not, it may become firewood.