Andy and I picked up this bookcase at an auction, and it has been a very useful piece of furniture. We have used it as a bookcase, but mostly it is used to keep extra dishes. We also use it for our stereo, and wi-fi devices, and cut a couple of holes in the back for cables to go through.
When our kids were very small we put the cat food and water on top of it so the cats could get to it, but the kids could not reach it. Unfortunately, that resulted in water damage and the need to re-finish the top of the laminate bookcase, while matching to the rest of the unit.
The damage was quite deep, but not all the way through the laminate. This is not the same laminate furniture that is made today, this bookcase is probably at least 50 years old. The laminate is very thick, so we were fortunate that I would not need to replace the laminate, just refinish it the same way I would with a solid wood piece. It was not much of a concern that I would end up sanding through the to the particle board.
I started by sanding with a belt sander using a medium grit sandpaper. That removed the staining and the previous finish.
I tested a few samples of stain and found one that looked like a good match. I applied two coats of stain, followed by three coats of varnish. The varnish I used is rub-on, rather than brush or spray. It is that it is very forgiving although perhaps a little slow to build up good luster, but it is good for beginners.
I did this project while the bookcase was already in the garage while we were replacing the carpeted floors in the living room with hardwood. At the time I thought the only thing that needed work was the top of the unit. Then when we moved it back onto the new floors, it was clear the feet of the bookcase also needed work. This had been masked by the carpet fibers and may need to be a project for another day.