I need advice on how to remove polyurethane from my beautiful dining room table. I took it upon myself to put three coats of satin polyurethane on it, when all I wanted was a shiny top coat to keep it from scratching. Now it's a mess and I don't know what to do. Is there some kind of remover I can use that won't take the finish off the table?
Donita from Loveland, CO
I think you are stuck, with removing the poly, which in turn, will probably remove the original finish as well! I very much doubt that you could remove the poly alone, there are commercial poly removers on the market, but I think they will also remove your original finish. You might also try sanding the poly with "wet or dry" sandpaper. I would use a fine grade of paper and wet the sandpaper with water, keeping it wet the entire time while sanding. Use a sanding block, to sand with. This will keep even pressure on the sandpaper and table. After you have sanded the poly, wipe it clean with water and after it thoroughly dries, apply a paste wax, like the old fashion, Johnson's Floor Paste Wax. Follow the directions on the can. By sanding and waxing the poly, you might eliminate having to completely refinish your table. Don't sand too much, sand just enough to dull the poly.
I agree with Sharon about the sanding but use the very finest sandpaper you can buy, it will take off part of the poly that is probably too thick. I wouldn't wax anything with polyurethane on it but I may be wrong.
Thank you so much for you advice. I will try the wet sand paper and see what I can do. I don't think it's very thick so it should work. Have a great summer and stay cool :)
IF you don't wax the table, the sanded table top will look very dull and the scratches from sanding, will most likely show. The method I recommended, is not an ideal solution BUT it might prevent you from having to remove all the finish from the table top. When you sand, sand with the grain of the wood, meaning sand in the direction of the grain. I have used paste wax over poly many times and have not had a problem...You can also use paste shoe polish. It is a wonderful wax, very hard, adds color to the finish too. The shoe polish is the kind you apply and let dry, then buff off. I buff the polish off with an old panty hose! Gives it a great shine! I usually use brown or dark brown polish. Good Luck. Let us know how this turns out! I have "played" with old furniture most of my adult life and love it!
I am so thrilled! The wet sandpaper is working! I started with the fine grade and had to switch to the medium but what a difference! I didn't know I could work with wet sandpaper and I just had to write and say thank you so so much! I'll be sanding all day, for sure, and it will be worth it. Then I will look for a good paste or polish and be done. I've been trying different things for a year now and I'm so happy. No more polyurethane!
Donita in Loveland, Colorado
So how is your table top renovation, progressing? Hopefully, it's going well!