I picked up some old bookshelves at a garage sale and I want to spruce them up. This is my first time doing a project like this, so I apologize for the newbie questions. Here is a picture of one of the shelves. It seems to be stained wood without any kind of varnish, paint or lacquer. I've been reading up on the internet and I think I'm just confusing myself so asking for some advice. I found an article which said I could wash this up and then sand it and restain with gel stain for an easy job and satisfying result. I tried washing it with a solution of Murphy's Oil Soap, but then someone told me that wasn't really soap so I washed it again with dish soap and water. As I worked on cleaning it I found some additional problems which might require more steps. These are my questions: 1. One of the things I read said that I should wash the furniture down with mineral spirits to remove any excess paint or other finish on it. I don't really think it has been painted in the past. Is this step necessary? Would mineral spirits remove the Oil Soap? 2. This wood looks rough and unfinished in some places. It has big knots in others and gouges from rough treatment. How much sanding should I do? I'll have to do it by hand since I don't have any power tools. I guess I am not expecting to come out with a polished and elegant result. A rough, rustic look is fine. But I don't want edges flaking off or catching on things. 3. When I took a closer look I discovered that there are some rotten areas of wood at the base of the shelves. It looks like they might have been standing on a damp floor at some time. I took some close pictures of these. What I am reading seems to say that I need to cut out these rotten areas and patch them with epoxy. Would that work and provide a strong enough base to support the rest of the bookshelf? Should I get some new lumber and nail a new baseboard to the bottom here? 4. I saw an article talking about using an epoxy consolidant to harden rotted wood before patching with epoxy filler. Is that step necessary in this case? 5. I bought some appropriate gel stain, but this garage has a whole collection of various oil based stains, polyethylene, strippers that my folks collected over the years. Most of these cans are at least 10 years old and I'm not quite sure what they all are for. Do these materials last that long? Should I leave them alone and buy all new materials? Thanks for your help!!