Help rubbing varnish

I'm nearing completion (I hope) of my first finishing project, an alder table that I bought unfinished. I stained it with a gel stain and finished it with Behlen's Rockhard varnish. The first coat of varnish was thinned 50/50 with mineral spirits. After determining that unthinned varnish left too many bubbles, I brushed on 2 coats thinned with 15% mineral spirits with 3 coats on the tabletop. I scuff sanded between each coat except for the tabletop which I completely smoothed and leveled with 000 steel wool before the final coat.
I have started rubbing out the finish after letting it dry for about 3 weeks and am having a problem getting an even sheen. I am starting my rubbing using 000 steel wool without lubrication. For the most part, it does a good job. However, there are shiny areas on the wood that I can't seem to dull. These aren't the little dots from the bubbles that popped, I can rub those out. These are larger areas that almost seem to get shinier as I rub them.
Am I somehow softening the finish as I rub it which is creating the shine? Should I be starting out with something more aggressive such as 0 or 00 steel wool?
Thanks,
Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Upon further review, I think that I'm rubbing through the top layer of varnish. I know that the only way to really correct this is to apply another coat.
I'm finding this rubbing to be one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. On top of the issue of rubbing through the top layer, I've rubbed through several edges with steel wool and am having great difficulty in building back up any sheen, even with pumice and then rottonstone.
I'm seriously considering scrapping it and just wiping on a satin top coat of some sort and being done with it.
Andy

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The leveling should have been done with something flat like backed sandpaper. I always apply at least two coats, scuff sanding between to also remove any bubbles, dust nibs, etc., before I level. I always plan on leveling through the top coat so I expect to have to apply at least one more coat before I start rubbing out.
Good Luck.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Since this is a finish coat Baron, why bother adding a topcoat after leveling? Your best finish is going to be obtained by rubbing out the leveled coat. Adding coats on top of leveling is going to introduce new areas that aren't level. Have you tried buffing out your leveling? Just curious why you add a coat after leveling.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I find that I always cut through the top coat while leveling no matter how careful I am. I decided to stop being too slow and careful. I no longer worry about cutting through the top coat. Once leveled, the next coat hides the witness lines and barely requires leveling. The little that is required is part of the initial rubbing out process.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.