Power your way to a polished finish
Place your sanded and cleaned workpiece on a non-skid mat to keep it from shifting as you polish. Then center and attach a yellow buffing pad (Sources) to the hook-and-loop pad of your random-orbit sander.
After shaking the container of polishing compound, squirt a moderate amount directly on the workpiece in an area the size of your polishing pad, photo right. Place the foam pad on the compound and start your sander at its highest speed.
Press lightly and polish a workpiece section of about 3 square feet in overlapping circles, photo below right. Go easy at edges and corners. Polish these areas just enough to reach the desired sheen, then stop before you polish through the finish.
Note: With polyurethane, sanding or polishing too long in one area can cut through the outer topcoat to the layer below and create a ring. If that happens, clean the workpiece thoroughly with mineral spirits, scuff sand it with 320-grit abrasive, and apply a full-strength topcoat. After it cures, sand as before and resume polishing.
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