I would recommend you wipe it down with acetone before applying the poly. Btw I used Epiphanes hand rubbed finish on my interior
. It is a beautiful natural looking finish, not too shiny. Many people don't think you need a uv inhibitor below decks but, the fact is, after several years your wood will be dark in places and lighter in others due to constant light reaching parts
of the wood. Epiphanes is a strong thick varnish that will hold up well over time and has a good uv filter. It's not poly.
You might try a light sanding
first to see if that removes enough of the dark varnish. Use 180 or those sanding pads that won't dig into the grain. It's old varnish that has darkened. If that does not do the trick a heat gun will be your best friend to take it back to the wood. A big project
There is a basic rule
that applies to shiny vs flat or hand rubbed finishing. Areas that are touched by your hands are best to make glossy; handholds, door rims, fiddles.
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