Sand the surface of the table with 120-grit sandpaper. Remove any imperfections from the top surface. Remove any splinters from the surface of the table to create a stainable surface.
Smooth the top surface of the table with 220-grit sandpaper. Remove any imperfections in the surface to create a pit-free surface. It is not necessary to sand down any edges or bark detailing on the table, as there is generally roughage in this surface, which creates texture.
Wipe down the table surface with a lint-free cloth to remove any dust residue. Dust left on the surface can create bumps and imperfections in the finished product, which is why it is extremely important to remove it before staining.
Put on rubber gloves, and dip the stain cloth into the stain. Apply the stain to the table surface in a circular motion. Work the stain deep into the grooves on the surface of the table. Allow the stain to set for five to 15 minutes, depending on the tone desired for the burl table.
Wipe away excess stain with old rags. Continue to soak up the stain until there is a thin application left on the table, allowing the wood to show through the stain. Allow the stain to dry for from four to six hours before continuing.
Stir the polyurethane finish, and dip the tip of the foam paintbrush into the polyurethane. Brush a thin, even coat over the entire table surface. Run the brush in one direction consistently -- generally running with the grain of the wood to prevent any bubbling. Allow the polyurethane to dry for six hours, and apply a second coating. Allow the table to dry for 24 hours before setting any item on top.