Proper preparation is the key to a beautiful finish on a wood table. Before you stain and seal the table, you must first sand down the wood as smooth as possible. The smoother the raw wood, the better the wood will take stain and sealing compounds. With the right techniques, you can take the rough texture of a raw wood table and turn it into a smooth, silky finish. After your table is sanded, you can apply stain and a sealer to finish it.
Put on protective eye goggles and a dust mask.
Wrap 100-grit sandpaper around the sanding block. Rub the sandpaper across flat wood surfaces in the same direction as the grain. Continue sanding the flat surfaces until the wood feels smoother.
Use a foam swimming noodle, cut to shape, to sand the contoured edges of the table and the legs. Wrap 100-grit sandpaper around the piece of swimming noodle, and sand the rounded and uneven surfaces until the wood feels smoother.
Remove the sanding dust from the wood surfaces with a tack cloth.
Repeat the sanding procedure with 150-grit sandpaper, always sanding with the grain of the wood. Continue sanding until the wood feels slightly smoother. Remove the wood dust with a tack cloth before using the next sandpaper grit.
Repeat the sanding procedure with 220-grit sandpaper, always sanding with the grain of the wood. Continue sanding until the wood feels smooth. Remove the wood dust with a tack cloth. For most table woods, such as pine and oak, this is the final sanding.
Perform a final sanding with 320-grit sandpaper if your table is made of a dense grain, such as ebony. Sand in the direction of the wood grain until it's smooth. Remove the wood dust with a tack cloth.
Vacuum the wood dust from the floor with a workshop vacuum.