Months ago I purchased a French expansion table. I painted the table legs white and I am refinishing the top and expansion pieces in a dark stain with a semi gloss poly finish (Minwax). I noticed when I initially stripped this table that one section didn't strip well. I had to strip it again.
That stripping did well but when I put the poly on it, it was very cloudy and streaked. Attributed it to the poly being outside in the Louisiana heat and humidity and not giving the can time to acclimate to indoor temperatures (as it was poly'ed indoors). So went back and stripped it a third time.
This particular time, Minwax told me that I didn't give the stain enough time to dry as this coat of poly was tacky and didn't dry. Furthermore, there were streaks in the finish. So they suggested Mineral Spirits. I used it and it did help. But after sanding to try and remove the streaks, I could see scratches in the finish and I was so upset I stripped it again.
So, here I am on the fourth stripping. This time I took my time. I hand sanded the piece. I stained it and waited two days before putting the first coat of poly. Being I had had so much trouble with the poly before on this piece, I used a sponge applicator thinking it would make a difference. These streaks are what I am left with. It was a little tacky the next day but it's almost dry. The streaks are back!!! I'm scared to sand it because last time I did that it scratched the table top even though I used the correct grit as indicated on the can.
So, to recap, poly acclimated correctly to room temperature, stain set for 48 hours. What am I doing wrong? How do I fix this so I can move on with my life?