In a pickle: How to achieve 1950s blond oak finish
I am completely new to refinishing and am trying to revive a 1950s oak sewing machine desk. The desk started life in a middle school classroom and has that blond oak finish that you find on some old school desks. It had acquired a surprising number of cigarette burns, considering its origins, plus water damage, gouges, and worn finish. I have sanded it but it retains blemishes and the veneer is getting thin. So, my question is, how can I finish this project in a way that hides blemishes and achieves that light pickled oak look? I am aiming for a light mocha rather than orange tint to agree with the fabulous old sewing machine I intend to put in the desk. Pictures are attached showing the desk as it is now, two examples of blemishes, and an unsanded area showing the original finish in its current condition. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.