2

This is perfectly normal with dilute coats of varnish, especially on something like the counter top material you bought where the grain direction, piece to piece, can be (usually is) so varied. In some spots (e.g. around knots) the grain will be nearly at right angles to the surface, and these areas are much more absorbent1 than the majority of the wood, ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible