When making repairs or taking apart equipment, be prepared for the occasional dropped part. Clean off a section of your workbench and spread out a smooth shop or dish towel. The towel will keep errant small parts from rolling around on the floor and getting lost. For small jobs, even square shop rags will work; for larger jobs cover the bench with salvaged carpeting.
If you’re thinking of refinishing your project, take a close look at it first. Antiques (or potential antiques) deserve special consideration. Always try to restore the old finish rather than stripping down to bare wood. Stripping an antique can destroy the soft mellowed look wood gets with age (patina) as well as depreciate considerably its value.