Hi, I am new to this forum and really hope someone can help me. I am refinishing a cedar chest, close to 100 years old. Lid and sides are veneer, inside and back are cedar. I am an amateur, all work is done in my basement and not a woodworking shop. Let's just say I am learning from my (many) mistakes.
First, used straight polyurethane, I applied it too thick, and then dust and stupid bubbles kept showing. I sanded in between the coats, but on the last coat, I stood the lid on it's side to dry, thinking less dust would settle. Instead, long drips appeared. I thought I could sand them out, but I wound up having to sand a good portion of the lid. So, knowing all the sanding I did to the veneer in the first place, I was afraid to sand it down more. I applied Citristrip instead.
I let the Citristrip sit for an hour. Tested a good section, but it didn't remove all the poly, even with a scraper. Here's where I think I really messed up- I only reapplied the Citristrip to the area I removed it from, the test section, but not the rest of the lid (so the rest of the lid still had the first application of Citristrip on it), and let it sit overnight. Next morning, I removed all of the Citristrip, but noticed the test section had a different texture and color. I thought, ok I messed up, I'll just have to sand it all down again, actually re-stain and re-poly. I waited a few days because the test section was still damp and thought it needed to dry out from the second application of the Citristrip.
But it is not drying out. 3/4 of the lid looks shiny, smooth, and is dry to the touch. The test section is smooth, but damp to the touch, and darker in color. I started to sand down the shine of the non-test section this morning (using 120 paper), hoping I could get it to somehow blend with the test section, but the test section just clumps up on the pad, and I'm afraid of ruining the good side.
Before I completely destroy it, if I haven't already, I read that denatured alcohol was used to remove Citristrip "sticky residue". From what I can see, the test section finish is completely clean of any Citristip. It's just damp to the touch and seems darker in color- is that the same thing as residue? Should I try denatured alcohol on the whole lid, or just the test section, or not at all? Should I just keep sanding until the whole lid is consistent, and then re-stain again? Is there something else I should do?
Thank you for any guidance!