First time working on a butcher block that I leveled with a sander and then started to apply polyurethane.

I did 3 coats but after the third coat the surface feels very rough still and smoother in some areas than others.

To be honest, it was smoothest right at the end of sanding it with a 220 grit sand paper with an orbital sandpaper. Now it just feels rough in some areas smooth in others.

I know the polyurethane can cause lead particles to pick up in the air if its dusted away, however I really dont like the feel of this table now.

Whats the best approach to get that smooth finish??

Should I:

  1. Apply another layer and let it dry?
  2. Sand all of it down until i get a smooth surface and then try to apply polyurethane again?
  • 2
    "I know the polyurethane can cause lead particles to pick up in the air if its dusted away" What you think you know is wrong - polyurethane you purchased in 2023 is not likely to have any lead in it.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 7, 2023 at 21:40
  • 1
    This might be a question better asked in "Woodworking."
    – Huesmann
    Aug 8, 2023 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


Option 2. I would sand and coat again. But dry it where people aren't walking about, stirring the dust. Its not lead particles its just dust.

I am not sure if you did it, normally one would light sand between coats. This is because of dust but also because the first coat raise bits of wood.

  • "Sanding" can be done with the rough side of a brown paper bag. You're simply looking to knock down the nibs, not actually scuff the surface of the poly (thus taking the sheen off it).
    – FreeMan
    Aug 8, 2023 at 18:33

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