Refinishing a table with Poly

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Old 02-22-14, 10:02 PM
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Refinishing a table with Poly

I am refinishing a table with minwax stain and polyurethane finish. I had to sand the table to bare wood. I applied 2 coats of stain, let dry for a week or so. I then applied a first coat of polyurethane. I waited little bit and then applied another coat. After it dried it looks like there are a bunch of pits or something in the clear coat. Can any one tell me how I can fix this without going back to bare wood?
 
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Old 02-23-14, 05:22 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Are the pits in the poly or the stain? SOP is to let the 1st coat of poly dry, then sand, dust and apply the next coat..... Would the 'pits' show up in a pic? .http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 02-23-14, 05:57 AM
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What kind of wood is the table made out of? It kind of sounds like fish eye. If that is the case, it is probably from years of wax being applied to the table and it hasn't been completely removed. On open grain woods like oak, this can be very problematic.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 08:56 AM
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Best I can do for a pic

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Thank you for the help. It looks like the pits are in the poly. I am not 100% sure what type of wood it is. I do not work with wood a lot. My wife got the table from her friend and thinks it is mahogany. Would it be a good idea to sand it back down and start over?
 
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Old 02-23-14, 10:37 AM
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Before I started over I'd sand and wipe it off with a rag damp with thinner - that should let you know if another coat of poly will fix it.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 11:10 AM
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Hard to tell in the pictures, but it is not fisheye. I think you are seeing the pores of the wood. Mahogany grains is a bit more open than maple would be. So when you apply the finish, it sinks down into those pores and they show up in the surface. The pits would not be round but have a length to them all going the direction of the grain. If that is what you are seeing and you want a perfectly flat surface, you will need to sand the poly flat using a block and reapply finish until the pores have been filled with finish. That would be to sand with a block to get the finish as flat as you can without sanding through it, then applying another coat of finish. Repeating those two steps until it is all flat. You need to be especially careful because you do not want to go through and sand the stain. It's fine if you can't sand all the pits out in one shot. you will just need to apply another coat of finish and sand again.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 11:22 AM
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Just an off the wall comment....don't ever shake poly (not that you said you did)! Stir well (but don't "whip" it) and let it sit a bit before use.

Not that I'm a Pro...but I made that mistake once and got lots of bubbles in the finish.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 09:17 PM
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Thank you

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and recommendations. I will try to sand it and apply another coat of polyurethane. One more quick question, would it be better to thin the polyurethane with thinner?
 
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Old 02-24-14, 05:22 AM
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Sometimes it's best to thin it slightly [never more than 10%!] a lot depends on how well it's brushing/flowing. 2 thin coats is often better than 1 heavy coat.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 10:14 AM
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One handy thing about poly is because it's similar to automotive paints it can be worked just like an automotive paint. If your last coat still has defects in it sand it flat & then progress up through the abrasive grits till 400. Wet sand it with a block & a spray bottle of water. Then use ordinary rubbing compound, & polishing compound per instructions. After each step make sure you wipe clean so there's no abrasive remaining to scratch the following step.
You will end up with a glass-smooth high-gloss finish like on a piano. You can then kill some sheen with 0000 steel wool & lemon oil, if desired.

On future projects with bare oak or mahogany it's best to apply paste wood filler before the stain step. The filler goes on like peanut butter and you normally only use it on large flat surfaces like table tops, where people scrutinize the finish. You wipe across the grain (ideally with a piece of burlap) to pack the pores with slurry. When dry give it a final fine sanding & stain/finish like normal.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 04:10 PM
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Wet sand it with a block & a spray bottle of water.Then use ordinary rubbing compound, & polishing compound per instructions.
If you go that route, make sure you have enough poly applied. Wax works well for getting the ultimate sheen but if you ever want/need to apply more poly [or paint] the wax must first be removed!
 
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Old 02-24-14, 09:42 PM
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Tried Drooplug's recommendation

For those following this project, I tried Drooplug's recommendation. I blocked sanded and applied a coat of polyurethane. The pits look as if they are disappearing. The finish is looking a lot smoother with less pits. I probably will need to apply at least one to two more coats to get the desired finish. Also it has been confirmed that the table is mahogany. Thank you guy48065 for the input on obtaining a smooth finish. I used to paint and buff/polish cars. Still do a little auto detailing so I am familiar with auto paints and clearcoats. Also the wax and the problems it can cause when painting and clearing. Thanks everyone!
 
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