Refinishing rosewood table

I have a rosewood dining room table with mismatched color. One of the halves has faded significantly from the darker brown/purplish color of rosewood to a light brown/tan color. It's noticibly different from the other half of the table and the leaves. I'm trying to sell the table (whole set actually) but the color difference keeps turning buyers off. The table is about 15 years old.
Can I strip the topcoat (I have no idea what it is) and restain one or all the pieces to match? I've stripped, restained and poly'd oak chairs before, but I'm a bit wary of a "real" pice of furniture. But then again I don't have too much to lose...
You can see pics at http://www.pjpress.com/furn /
Thanks, Michael
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Are you assuming the piece is stained or are you positive?
If the first it is possible that if that side of the table was, say, situated near a window and the sun hit one half longer then the other the wood has reacted to having more sun hit it the other half.
Should that be the case, removing the finish and lightly sanding the wood could possibly restore an even color.
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Mike G.
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I'd guess it's not stained, just clear-finished, but I really don't know for sure.

Yes, that's the most likely scenario, though it's odd that one half is uniformly light and the other half is not lightened at all. (I'd expect the directional-sun scenario to produce a gradual transition from very light to unaffected.

So are you syaing that sun-bleached wood is only affected on the top surface, and a light sanding exposes unbleached wood? Seems worth a try.
Can I use standard furniture stripper I get at home depot? What kind of finish should I use to restore it to 'fine furniture' - is wipe-on poly sufficient or do I need to learn about varnish or shellac or something "real"?
Thanks, Michael
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Most photo sensitive woods I've worked do respond to being sanded but there are variables so no guarantees.
You can use any stripper that works for you. For a nice piece of furniture I'd prefer a card scraper and reserve the chemicals to soften up finish in tough to get too places. Things like inside carvings and ornamental areas.
I would try to pin down what you are dealing with. A little alcohol in and unobtrusive area and see if it softens the finish. If yes, the finish is alcohol. If no, try lacquer thinner, if yes the finish is lacquer. Since each is a solvent for the respective finish you can use them to aid in removing the finish. If neither bothers the finish it is something that will need, if you are going to use chemicals, a stripper.
Me, I'd use a lacquer. You could also. If you have no spray equipment you can get Deft in spray cans at most home stores.
However, use what ever you are comfortable with. Just remember that any finish will have some effect on how the bare wood looks. Not usually a big problem but in your case you will want to test a finish in an unobtrusive spot to see how it matches up with the rest of the set you are trying to sell.
Good luck
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Mike G.
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This may be a silly suggestion, but if the fading is due to UV, maybe you should just set the table outside on a couple of sunny days, maybe with the faded side covered, and let nature even it out.
Dave Hall
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