Polyurethane Orange Peel? Puddling?

I have a coffee table I sanded to bare wood. I applied water-based poly with a brush. I get these puddles or orange peel looking "things" (see links. I figure it might be the brush so I switch to a foam brush - same result (yes, I sanded first).
Curious though, the sides are nice and smooth as I expected.
I diluted the poly about 10%. Am I putting it on too thick? What's happening? The wood was smooth before applying. The poly is new. How can I salvage what I have done?
http://home.cfl.rr.com/jmartin104/table.jpg
http://home.cfl.rr.com/jmartin104/table2.jpg
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TC wrote:

Was, by chance, the original finish an oil finish (non-film)?
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Jack Novak
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Nova wrote:

Honestly, I don't know. But I sanded to bare wood. Would it make a difference (if I sanded to bare wood and the old finish was oil)?
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TC wrote:

If it were an oil finish and you've used a furniture polish containing silicone you may be experiencing "fish-eye" caused by silicone contamination. If that is the case the new finish would have to be removed and a barrier coat of shellac applied before the poly is applied.
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Jack Novak
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You don't have your wood sanded down smooth enough. The secret to any finish - any finish, is in the preparation. I can see the grain in your poly and that's not good. Sand your piece down until the ridges disappear. Use the ridges as your guide coat, which is to say that you keep sanding until you have no shiney spots left. The shiney spots will be your low points and additional coats of poly will not adhere to them unless they get scruffed. Take the piece down until it is all perfectly flat and perfectly even in its lack of luster. Then, apply another coat of poly.
If you want to be extra safe, after you sand it down, apply a coat or two or three of shellac and then apply your poly.
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-Mike-
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We use water based finishes almost exclusively in our shop. So this is based on my experience and what I see in your pictures.
I think you are getting an oil/water reaction to oil left in the wood. You are going to have to completely remove the new finish. Then finish sand and apply a coat of shellac. You can then proceed with your water based finish. The shellac should be a good buffer between the two. Try a test piece first to see if shellac and your water based are compatible.
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based
and
finish.
first
If his oil based finish (original), as we are guessing it to possibly be, is older than a few weeks to a couple of months old, then there should be no reaction between oil and water base. Actually, it should be reaction free in less time than that, but I'm taking the tail between the legs, utlra conservative approach to this. Once the finish is cured, there is no oil left to react with a water based finish.
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I agree with Mike that the old finish should not affect the new, but there is some sort of reaction from a furniture polish or wax or??? Try the shellac before applying more water based.
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Mike Marlow wrote:

Some more details:
* Table is 5+ years old. The old finish (unknown) was flaking, off to bare wood. * The table is not solid wood but veneer. * Wife says no polish. * I sanded using 80, 150, 220 * Does behave as if oil present when I apply poly. * I didn't want to buy a new coffee table and figured I'd just resurface this one. The rest of the table (legs) is fine. At this point, it's not worth the time to restrip. Can I simply sand smooth and coat with shellac or oil-based poly?
BTW, thanks for all the help!
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Could it have ever had anything silicone on it? I hope not, for your sake . . . .
-Don (don't know how to deal with that -- hope I never have to)
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"What do *you* care what other people think?" --Arline Feynman

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TC,
I've read the other replies but one possibility has not been mentioned. You didn't say what your sanding schedule was or how you did it. Normally, you would start with a coarse enough grit to remove the old finish then work on up thru 100, 150 and 220 - then stop. If you went on up to higher grits, there's a chance that you have burnished the wood by sanding to hard and to long so there's no "tooth" left for the finish to grab on to. You get about the same reaction - if it can't adhere - it puddles. If this is the case - start sanding again and as other's have stated - it's time for some shellac.
Bob S.
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BobS wrote:

Sanded with 80, 150, and 220.
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Scrape and sand that horrible mess off. I wouldn't even try to recoat it.
What finish was on the piece before is less important than others think. If it's cured solid enough to get some tooth, the stuff should stick. There are a lot of people, however, who like "lemon oil" and such which contain non-curing oils like mineral oil to temporarily brighten the finish. Or use those "swiffer" things to pick up the dust. Back to oil and water not mixing. Could be your problem, though it appears you're getting the finish to adhere, just unevenly.
Says surface tension within the film, not adhesion to the surface, to me. Wonder about the dilution. Is that recommended? Not a current waterbase user, but back when I tried, it seems to me you used some sort of a flattening agent when you diluted to keep the emulsion consistent. Sort of goes along with the vertical surface stuff where gravity helps mix being good. At the least, use demineralized rather than tap water.
I'd test the existing poly on a vertical and horizontal surface of prepared scrap to see if you need to scrap it. Something you can do as you try and get that mess off the tabletop.
Good luck!
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Airborne oil can do things like that. Never spray silicone or lubricants within 100 yards of a product you are going to paint or finish. Never use a rag that may have been contaminated, and remember that the oils from your fingers can contaminate.
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TC wrote:

I sanded the table until it was smooth again (not to the bare wood) and coated with Minwax oil-based poly. That seems to have done the trick. Seems something was affecting the water-based poly. Thanks all for the help!
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Thanks for the feedback. It's always good to get this kind of follow up and to know that suggestions either worked or didn't. That goes a long way toward culling out ideas that seem like they might work, and leaving behind some good workable ideas.
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-Mike-
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