I sanded down a 2 inch old Maple butcher block bowling alley and stained 48 hours ago. I then applied 2/3 poly to 1/3 mineral spirits and let sit in direct 80 degree sun from 10-4 pm. It was totally dry after 2-3 hours.

Is it safe to sand and apply second coat or do I need to wait 24 hours as suggested?

This answer was helpful:
What is the proper procedure to apply multiple coats of Polyurethane?

It's all about adhesion. When you recoat after 2 hours you get a chemical bond between layers. If you let it go longer than that, you need to wait 24 hours so it's hard enough to sand and get a mechanical bond

However I'm curious if since my table is dry, then it will be a mechanical bond (after only 4-6 hours)

  • since you're in an indeterminate area of dryness, the safe course would be to wait the 24 and sand and recoat.
    – dandavis
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 5:04

1 Answer 1


We cannot really answer without being there and evaluating the base wood but under 6 hours is cutting it very short. Have I ever done this? yes but it was 4 year dried walnut that was stained ~ 60 days beforehand close to 2 months. My first 5 layers were cut to thin it down to allow it to fill the small divots and grain, yes this may have been excessive but the next coats were full strength with very fine steel wool at first and later 1200 grit wet dry paper. It still looks awesome 20 years later, but if not allow to fully dry it may bubble or craze. The problems may not show up until the next year on a hot day, I have had that happen, had to strip almost down to bare wood and start applying fresh coats to make it look right. I still have those tables and other than a slight yellowing they are fine after 30 years (not in direct sun).

  • Thank you. Will keep this in mind for next coat. I ended up waiting 12 hours, lightly sanded with 220, wiped clean and applied second coat at 3/4 poly to 1/4 mineral spirits. Will wait 24 to next one based on your answer. I'll update my initial question with type of wood (a 2 inch old Maple butcher block bowling alley that was stained 48 hours ago)
    – moonshot
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 3:32

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