The kitchen table is finally finished, and moved back into the kitchen tonight! Here are photos from the rest of the process. After stripping off the old varnish and stain, I was down to bare wood. Then I sanded and stained. These two pieces below are the two leaves; the one on the left has the stain already wiped off. On the right, it's still waiting to be taken off.
After two coats of stain, I did two coats of oil-based polyurethane over the top. You can see it below, where the tabletop is shiny! Next, I primed the legs and sides of the table that I was planning on painting black. I used oil-based primer, too, as water-based products can "raise the grain" of the wood. (Shout-out here to YHL, whose furniture painting tutorial provides much of my inspiration for these types of projects!) As they point out, you can totally use a latex paint over an oil-based primer.
I used Behr's paint/primer combination paint for the legs (we've used this stuff a lot on walls, and it's fabulous). The color is actually Black Onyx from Glidden. But The Home Depot will mix up whatever you want for you, so you can switch back and forth with their brands, which is nice. After a couple coats of paint, I put on a coat of water-based polycrylic finish to make the rest shiny... and here's the finished result!
The cats enjoyed checking it out... it was sort of like they totally forgot what a kitchen table was. Guess it was out in the garage for too long! :)
We're glad that we are now going to be able to park in the garage, too--just in time for cooler weather!