furniture refinishing

I have a buffet that is very old and worn (but from family) that I would like to refinish somehow. Would I sand it first? I have seen so many projects here that have caught my eye and I would like to try it but am intimidated. Any tips, suggestions or encouragement would really be a blessing. Thanks!
If I don't replace the hardware-how do I clean or polish it?
The entire front edge is rough and shredded looking like this.

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