Step 5: Step 4: Applying Polyurethane

Picture of Step 4: Applying Polyurethane
Step 4:
-Now that your table is nice and stained, and dried, it’s time to lightly sand again.  This time you are going to use the very fine grit, 320 sandpaper.  This step is optional but I wanted a glass-like finish when I was done, so I made sure my table was smooth.  Using this grit will not take off the finish as long as you have a couple of layers and do it very lightly to get the bubbles/dust particles out.
-You will notice a huge difference by doing this light sanding.  After you are done, brush the dust off, vacuum, and use a VERY LITTLE BIT of mineral spirits on a paper towel again.  If you use too much mineral spirit, it will take the stain off the wood. 
-Now time for the polyurethane coatings.  This takes a lot of time, the longest part of your project by far.
-I started to use a spray on polyurethane coating, and quickly found out it did not look good at all.  It was not thick and did not achieve that perfect, glass-like finish I wanted.  So I re-sanded again, and bought Minwax brush on.  This works a million times better.  Take your time with this, you want it to look good.  Use a natural brush and put on light, even coats of polyurethane.  Let each layer dry before the next, about 2-4 hours.  I liked to lightly sand between the first and second layer, just to ensure the bubbles were all gone.  On the third layer, take your time and you should have a lovely finish. 
-Keep in mind, the polyurethane makes a very shiny finish.  There are different brands of polyurethane which have gloss, semi-gloss, and satin finishes.  It’s your preference. 
-Let the table dry completely before gluing the pennies on