Just used this for repainting a table. No sanding needed. Use a cloth to rub on, and it takes off gloss and makes a rough surface for paint to adhere to. Worked great. Was easy and fast. Got it at Home Depot for less than | http://bestoutdoorlivingrooms.blogspot.com
Use the correct type of clear coat finish. For most furniture paint projects, use Polycrylic as your top coat. It will give you the durable finish you're looking for, but won't yellow over time like Polyurethane will. Also, Polycrylic cleans up with water. You'll have to use mineral spirits for Polyurethane.