A couple of weeks ago I picked up a really dirty, gunky oak desk, probably from the 50's. I sanded it down to remove the debris and had it down to bare wood. I did not use mineral spirits as I was down to bare wood and really doubted there was any old finish left. Anyhow, instead of staining, I just used wipe on poly for 3 coats and sanded with #0000 steel wool in between. It dried nice and was no longer tacky after 6 hours or so. I waited 48 hours to start using the desk and did apply a coat of SC Johnson Paste Wax.
Now, most of the desk is still very nice with no tackiness, but I use it as my computer desk and it does get several hours of use and I have a bad habit of resting my wrist on the edge of the desk. That spot is already getting a bit gunky. Should I have used a different product rather than wipe-on poly? I was under the impression that poly was probably the best choice for something that gets daily use. Is there anyway to remedy that or is it normal to have to scrub down and re-wax a desk that gets regular use?
This was my first attempt at refinishing something and it turned out so nice that I picked up an old child's desk and refinished that for my daughter. She hasn't started using it yet, but should I have used something other than wipe-on poly for that as well? It isn't tacky at all, but, who knows when she starts using it.