No, those aren't turtle names (tho they sound like they could be!)
So I was about to putty my window boxes' nail holes... and I decided to [gasp!] read the directions -- the putty said to apply ~after~ stain and topcoat. That sounds crazy. Putty after you poly everything? I'd think you'd want your poly to go over the top of the putty and create one solid smooth surface. Is putty even going to bond to a poly'd surface?
Why would putty be the last thing you do? Do most ppl do it this way or am I right to think putty first and then poly, sand, poly?
Depends on the putty. Some of the colored ones have a resin in them so, in theory do not need a top coat and the fnish may not adhere. Some have a paste wax in them that, again, will block adhesion. The idea is to buff to match the sheen of your finish.
Most plain old fashioned fillers get stained with the rest and top coated with poly or whatever with the rest of the job.