I have a table that has a veneer inlay that my grandkids put huge scratches in. I decided to sand it and coat it with polyurethane. Long story short, I even ended up adding stain. The sanding block made it look horrible (scratches) but when I put the first coat of poly it looked fine.

I sanded with 220 to put another coat of poly on, however 2 things happened. 1. The can said 4 hours between coats and to sand but it seemed like it was still a little tacky and I sanded anyway. 2. Now that I have sanded it looks horrible (worse than before the first coat of Poly) it looks like a huge scratch mess.

My Questions: 1. Will the scratched look go away again after I spray it with poly again? or should I sand it with a finer sanding block before I recoat it? I guess the worst thing that can happen is that I will have to start all over...If it does look okay after I apply poly again, what should I do after the last coat for any bumps?

1 Answer 1


The drying times on the can are usually very optimistic in my experience. They sometimes state the drying conditions the times are intended for, like 78 ºF and <20% humidity. If you are colder and/or more humid you will have to wait longer.

Definitely do not sand if the finish is tacky. There's no harm in giving it extra time to dry.

At this point I would wait for the finish to really dry, then sand it again until it is smooth. You may have to take off some/most of the first coat of poly to get a smooth surface. Do NOT just spray another coat onto a sticky, bumpy mess. It will just be preserved like that.

Polyurethane won't smooth out any bumps, that's what the sanding is for. The surface will get more lustrous but it won't get any smoother. If you've prepped the surface well and removed all dust, there won't be any bumps at the end.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.