I recently finished several doors in our house, using two coats of stain - one each of a different stain - and polyurethane to finish. For one door, I forgot to put on the 2nd coat of stain by accident before finishing.

Is it possible to remove the poly, without removing the stain so I can "simply" add the missed 2nd coat and then re-finish?

This is a pocket door that doesn't appear to have a straightforward way to remove it without busting it out of the wall. Bonus points if the method can be done while the door remains in place.

I have no reservations about chemicals, realize some affect may befall the stain, and understand this isn't going to be a pleasant experience no matter the method.


Mix equal parts of lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol and stir well. Apply the mix with a paint brush and in small sections because you can't leave it on long and it has to be removed fast. After about 10 to 15 seconds remove immediately with #0000 steel wool. Wash off with a wood cleaner, rinse and pat dry.

  • I read that article too. Do you have experience with this method? Aug 27 '19 at 0:12
  • I just finished using it on a dresser to remove the polyurethane only. I wanted to redo it with shellac. I did it in five sections. The alcohol cuts the strength of the thinner and after I had finished it I thought that if I had used more alcohol in the mixture I wouldn't have had to work so fast and could have reduced the number of sections. It worked great.
    – JACK
    Aug 27 '19 at 0:28

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