1. The wood has a bumpy texture to it, is this normal for old pieces and can I sand it, stain it, and reseal it?
2. There are metal lion head holders on each side. How can I tell what kind of metal they are. I can unbolt them and remove them completely but they are rusted up and I am afraid I would not be able to get them back on.
3. Since it is a family heirloom and is at least 115 years old would it be better to have it professionally restored? I take pride in doing things myself but I don't know what is going on with the wood and I don't want to get in over my head if that is not normal.