I built a dining table and stained with my usual product - low VOC minwax in Provincial. I let the stain sit for 12 hours, but the humidity was really high and I don't think it fully dried.

I applied a coat of Varathane the next morning, and it beaded up. Now, it's super tacky and when I scrape my fingernail over the wood, the stain squeezes up.

Do I have to strip the whole top? If so, any product recommendations?

  • Related, possibly duplicate question, and this one too.
    – grfrazee
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 23:07
  • "Varathane" doesn't tell us enough, that's a brand line, not a specific product. If you need more on-point input we need to know exactly which one was used — I suspect from the beading part that you're using one of their waterbased ones but that's just a guess, they do make oil-based poly too.
    – Graphus
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 9:36

1 Answer 1


Rule one when finishing: don't be impatient. The timescale for a project should be dictated by what occurs, not what we want to occur :-)

Re. your current situation, it's possible you'll be fine if you just wait longer. Many times when varnish "dries tacky" it's actually just not dry yet. Unfortunately for the varnish to then dry can take an excessively long time, days at least and even weeks. And there are no guarantees it will dry; many people have experience with finishes that stay tacky indefinitely.

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