Removing polyurethane?


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Old 12-26-22, 03:57 PM
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Question Removing polyurethane?

Hi...I have a butcher block workbench top, and the polyurethane finish is in bad shape. I'd like to remove the old poly finish, and just coat fresh with Danish oil.

My question is: Is it possible to simply sand off the old polyurethane? Most recs suggest chemical strippers, but I'd prefer to sand it off if possible.

I'm sure sanding could do a good job visually, but Danish oil needs to be able to penetrate...so the question is really whether sanding the old poly will remove it sufficiently that the oil will be able to penetrate?

Thanks for your thoughts
 

Last edited by RobertSF; 12-26-22 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 12-26-22, 04:34 PM
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Sanding typically burnishes the poly into the pores of the wood partially sealing it so it won't take stain very well afterward. Your best bet is a stripper, followed by a paint thinner rinse and then sand it. Wait about 48 hrs before staining it so that the thinner completely evaporates.
 
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Old 12-27-22, 04:37 PM
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Thanks for your note. Just to ask though, do you think the old poly will get burnished if I'm only going to around 180-grit sandpaper? I would understand 600 or 2000, but I'm not going too crazy. Again, really trying to avoid chemical strippers if possible.
 
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Old 12-27-22, 04:51 PM
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If your using 180 your never going to get all the old the poly off. So no, that won't work. And don't even think about hand sanding it.

Use a citrus based stripper if you are concerned about chemicals.
 
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Old 12-27-22, 04:58 PM
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Sorry I wasn't very clear...180 is just the final sand. I'll likely use an 80 grit to remove the bulk of it...then 120, then 180.

Regarding chemicals, I've logged plenty of hours with Jasco and CitriStrip, just prefer not to deal with the mess here and sand if I can get away with it.
 
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Old 12-28-22, 01:34 AM
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I've re-finished many kitchen, coffee, and desk table tops and always sanded them before re-staining/re-finishing without any issue. I've never even considered using a stripper!
 
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Old 12-28-22, 03:26 AM
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As long as you are sanding with the grain, 180 grit is good for the final sand before you apply the oil.
Personally I wouldn't rely on sanding alone to remove the old poly - too much effort.
 
 

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