Know What You Want It to Look Like
It's happened to every restorer: You pull a wooden table off the curb, thinking its color will nicely match the rest of the furniture in a given room, only to discover after restoration begins that the piece is actually made from lighter-colored wood and doesn't match at all. Luckily, with a little examination, you can get an idea of the true grain's color. Find a spot that's been protected from everyday wear, such as the back of a drawer front. Taking a peek at an unworn area will give you an idea what the the finished product will look like.