Refinishing a pine table. Applied one coat of minwax wipe on then sanded as told. Applied second coat and sanding marks still showing. Can it be fixed?

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    You might want to show a picture of the sorts of scratches we are talking abut, and describe your method in more detail. We can assume you aren't using 120-grit sandpaper, but what are you using for final sanding? Wet or dry? hand or machine? Tell us what you did and show the results. Make sure you visit the other Q&A tagged appropriately so you can see the sorts of answers you can expect. This is a common question so you might just find your answer there. – jdv Apr 9 at 14:49
  • A photo would go a long way here. Are you seeing individual scratches? If so you were probably using paper that was too coarse. I typically sand between coats with 320 grit. All you're looking to do is knock off the dust nibs or raised grain that are embedded in the previous coat. You ideally don't want to sand into the previous coat at all, though in practice that really can't be avoided. Obviously if you have runs or brushmarks you'll have to take a bit more time, but you still don't want to use a coarse or even medium paper. Stick to fine grits. – SaSSafraS1232 Apr 9 at 16:07
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    "then sanded as told" What were you told ? What did you do ? Sanded lightly, what grit ? How lightly ? With the grain or haphazardly ? – Alaska Man Apr 9 at 20:27
  • Does this answer your question? how to fix very light scratches in polyurethane finish? – Graphus Apr 10 at 8:16

The simple answer in my thinking, is yes, it can be fixed but with caveats.

Sand, apply more, sand, apply more until you're happy. Of course you risk adding more scratches.

As others suggest, scratches come in all sizes. Sandpaper, luckily also comes in all sizes from Course (50 grit) to very fine which can go above 12,000 grit. The more grains of grit, the smaller they are, and the finer the scratches they leave.

Part of the equation is what are we sanding/finishing? Oak for instance doesn't to my eye get much advantage past 320 extra fine sand paper. Rosewood, in contrast, I've taken to 2,000 and can see a great difference from 320 to 2,000. Always move from lower numbers to higher numbers, and a good rule is don't go more than double in any one phase - 200-400, 400-800, 800-1600 as example.

Different woods are harder or softer meaning that the scratches embedded are deeper or shallower. Pine is soft, and will scratch very easy (dents easy too). If the underlying wood was not sanded to your satisfaction, then any finish will likely telegraph that to the surface.

The bottom line in my mind is sand as much as you feel proud of the end product. If the product is utilitarian, then maybe not as much. If you think it's heirloom, then maybe more. Use "raking" light to see the scratches and remove them with finer and finer grit sandpaper. Raking is a low angle, glancing light that makes the valley of the scratch stand out. Sorry to say, it's mostly a question of how much time do you have to dedicate.

Welcome to the forum!

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