The table was just too bland/white to just top coat. I took a guess and decided it needed lots of yellow/amber and red. I didn’t want to just stain it because I’m also guessing it is very blotch prone. So I learned about glazing, which can be undone or adjusted if the color isn’t right.
Unfortunately, it was hard to photograph, it looks better in the flesh.
First up was BLO to add yellow. Then orange shellac to add more yellow. That was sanded baby butt smooth with 320.
For the red, I used a “Antique Maple” gel stain I had sitting around (it looks like brick red + brown in the can). Slathered it on, rubbed it in, played around. Then twiddled my thumbs a bit to let it dry some. The can says three minutes but when it is sitting on top of shellac, you have a very long working time. Then did my best to wipe it off with paper towels and let it sit overnight to dry (probably should be been longer).
To topcoat, more shellac using french polishing. “French” is a bit presumptuous, what I did was pad on shellac using [mineral] oil as a lube. It really helps, do a half ashed job and you don’t need to sand (what you see is “off the pad”). For a “rubber”, I used a cotton sock turned half inside out and soaked with alcohol (keep it in a jar and it is ready for use for weeks or just add more alcohol). Dip the pad in shellac, dip my finger in oil and swipe it on the pad, apply to wood. I like long sweeping brush like strokes but that’s just me. The lubed pad just glides where shellac-only sticks or smears.