I'm positive they're not sand-throughs, and it's not scratches. The lacquer looks almost like it's full of tiny bubbles in those areas. I'll pick up some blush eraser from Woodcraft after work today and see if that helps. *fingers crossed Thanks for the advice, Mete. Regardless at which point it comes, learning better ways to do something is always a good idea . Sanding each coat after the first few definitely sounds like a way to get a better final finish. As I said above, I'll pick up some blush eraser today and see if that does it. I'm cautiously optimistic because I really don't want to have to go back to bare wood again. I guess the plus side is that my technique has gotten markedly better with each version .