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Why did polyurethane make wood feel coarse?

In reference to the above thread...

If the first suggested solution seems to work to solve the coarseness issue, i.e. "polishing" the rough areas with brown paper, would we also need to add another coat of poly after doing so?

My parter and I are debating the issue.

(Note: The poly currently on there is a triple thick varthane, which is water based. We applied one coat per the instructions on the can. My question is in regards to having to do an addition coat after polishing, when I believed the project to be finished.)

In my view, by using the brown paper we are only removing a very small amount of the poly, the extra, or rough areas, and the stained pine wood underneath is still protected and sealed. Am I correct?

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Yes, the usual routine is to use steel wool or similar to smooth the results of the first coat, which raises grain in the wood. This will dull the finish. Then additional coats are applied, which don't tend to have the same effect, and which restore the luster of the finish.

Two coats is considered the bare minimum by most folks. You could potentially buff a single coat to something satisfactory, but in my experience you'll have dry spots and a very thin protective layer with that approach.

  • Thank you for your answer. And Another question/ more information: The poly currently on there is a triple thick varthane, which is water based. We applied one coat per the instructions on the can. My question is in regards to having to do an addition coat after polishing, when I believed the project to be finished. This is for a bookshelf. My partner is concerned that the stain will get on his books. – Brian Star Jul 22 '17 at 4:08
  • What's the question? – isherwood Jul 22 '17 at 12:39
  • Once the poly is dry it creates a barrier from the stain below. I have used over a dozen coats on a project that I wanted an absolute perfect finish. The more coats the better the depth of finish look as long as they are clean and dry for the next coat. – Ed Beal Jul 22 '17 at 12:44

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