I picked up this used bar on Craigslist on the cheap. It appears to be homemade, and maybe 20-30 years old.
The bar top is 2" of particle board covered with what I'm assuming is maybe a veneer of sorts (???). It has the look and texture of wood...it is not shiny like laminate.
The front of the bar, from the floor, to the bar top, is made of a thin sheet of wood-like material with the same texture as the bar top. It is also not shiny like laminate, but I doubt it is real wood. It has the same feel as a cheap closet door you might find in your home.
I'd like to clean this up and darken the color to more of something like an ebony or red mahogany. And it'd be nice if I could then cover the bar top with something like polyurethane so it has a nice shine to it.
Is it even possible to re-finish this kind of material and, if so, any suggestions on products to use? I don't know if I should go down the spray paint route...or if this would even stain. How would I go about refreshing the finish on this old bar?
Given the thin veneer and the high probability that there is in fact some kind of transparent finish over the color, by the time you knocked enough off to accept stain you'd probably be down to the particle board core.
About the only thing that might work is something like MinWax "one-step" combined polyurethane and pigment. The surface would need to be lightly sanded for adhesion, but otherwise it's pretty much a brush on or even wipe-on process.
Frankly I think the stuff is gawdawful and would never use it except under extreme circumstances - which this might well be...
It's hard to see from the pics but that looks like a particle board door slab wrapped in veneer. You can refinish that however you want. Just be careful to not be too aggressive with the sanding. Take the outer finish off but keep it light to not wear through the thin veneer. Cap the end grain with solid wood and you're golden.
............Alright Brain, you don't like me, and I don't like you. But lets just do this, and I can get back to killing you with beer......~Homer