I have sanded down a table and put 2 coats of paint on it. I have also applied two coats of varnish. The first coat was smooth but the second coat of varnish seems rough. It looks like wood that got wet around the corners. Should I have sanded between coats of varnish?

  • What product did you use? Some are finicky about recoating within a certain window of time. After that window has closed the first coat must completely cure or the second coat will cause crinkling.
    – Kris
    Aug 7, 2019 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


Yes, you should lightly sand between coats (applies to paint & varnish), this removes any dust or particles that may have stuck to the previous wet coat and provides a "key" for the next coat to adhere to properly.

Not sure what could the "looks like the wood got wet" part though, perhaps it was not fully dry...

  • I prefer steel wool. It removes bumps without dramatically affecting the desired layer.
    – isherwood
    Aug 7, 2019 at 15:21
  • @isherwood well, I tend to use a very fine "wet&dry", but I'll give steel wool a go...
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 7, 2019 at 15:23
  • I find that fine-grit paper gets clogged very quickly with urethane, which makes projects more expensive.
    – isherwood
    Aug 7, 2019 at 15:53
  • Had a shop teacher that had us use steel wool and a drop of 3&1 oil.
    – JACK
    Aug 7, 2019 at 16:42

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