Re: finish bubbles
Sorry to say, this is the way it is with Minwax top coats. Minwax stains are great, it is their finish coats that are complete garbage. No amount of good tools or good technique can compensate. I would suggest sanding out the bubbles and switching to McKloskies polyurethane. General Finishes (brand name ) makes good quality top coats as well. If you switch finishes, do a test in an inconspicuous spot to make sure there won't be any incompatibility issues with the two top coat brands. This isn't usually a problem, but it's always best to play it safe and test first, the last thing you want to do is have to strip/sand an alligatored finish.
I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!