This is a true story. Salvation Army had a two tiered laminate topped table with beat up, yet solid and attractive, wooden legs. The table was a mess so I asked one of the attendants who was moving furniture around if I could remove the legs and leave the tabletop. He not only agreed, he removed the screw in legs, taped the four gems together and priced the the whole set at fifty cents. Here's what happened next...
What You Need
clean cotton cloth
100 grit sandpaper
fine grade sanding pad (and sandpaper)
wood stain (I mixed two colors of Minwax to get the color I wanted)
fine steel wool (0000)
a crate or piece of styrofoam to prop the legs up while staining them
small orbital sander
Clean off legs
Attach 100 grit sandpaper to your orbital sander and just sand the finish right off of each leg, rolling the leg while sanding so you don't sand out too much wood in one spot
Wipe off all the wood dust, see if any areas need extra work and re-sand if necessary
Use a fine sanding pad or sandpaper and smooth out each leg, always sanding with the direction of the grain
Wipe off all wood dust, clean up wood dust in your work area
With the clean foam brush, apply stain on each leg evenly, after 15 minutes wipe off the excess stain, repeat if you want the legs darker, remove excess again after 15 minutes
When the legs are completely dry and you're happy with the color, rub them all over with 0000 (fine) steel wool
Apply a coat of satin polyurethane on each leg if you want to, the stain I used comes with the sealer in the stain.
Attach metal furniture leg plates to your desired piece of furniture, ottoman, stool, bench or chair and screw in your fabulously refinished fifty cent legs that look like they cost you at least $25.00.