Skip sanding between coats of polyurethane

I once finished a wood-framed futon with oil-based stain and Minwax oil-based polyurethane. Not knowing any better, I just brushed on 4 coats of the poly without sanding in between. However, several years later it still looks great, despite daily use and hundreds of soggy beverages being left on the wood armrests.
I'm going to finish a new coffee table the same way this weekend. Assuming I keep the area free of dust and bubble-free, can I just skip the sanding part?
What are the consequences of avoiding the sanding step in between coats of polyurethane?
TIA!
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poor adhesion and a rougher surface. why not follow the instructions?
dave
Ethan Travenio wrote:

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You might be able to skip sanding on the later coats but I have found that the first coat will always be full of microbubbles (released as the wood seals) that need to be knocked down. Once you get set up with your sander it is just as easy to sand between all coats tho. It does give you a smoother finish. I use my RO sander and just knock the glaze down. It is a couple of minutes that makes a lot of difference..
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wow, I've not been able to sand between coats with a powered sander without going through the finish at some spots. I use 220 and 320 for inter-coat sanding now. You must have that "magic touch". I generally use waterborne finishes (sprayed).
dave
Greg wrote:

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This old B&D sander really doesn't take much material away but I do use a light touch and move pretty fast. All I try to do is knock down the glaze.
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Depending on how dry you allow the poly to get it should not be a real issue on most pieces if you re-apply a cost while the poly is still somewhat tacky. If it's allow to dry, you should wait 36 hours before sanding and adding additional coats.
However, in my experience, a coffee table top needs to have a very deep gloss and be quite smooth. I would hand rub the first two coats of Minwax (oil-based polyurethane), then with progressively finer paper coupled with progressively harder sanding blocks, sanding between thoroughly dried coats, I would finish by wet sanding with 600 paper and mineral sprits and polish.
Have fun, be patient and you will be rewarded with an incredibly smooth, beautiful top.
Dave

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