best way to protect wood and get a matte finish


Hi, I just refinished a dining table that was given to me. The table is not a great wood piece, so I sanded down the top completely, then shellaced it then stained it. It looks great now, but now I'm to the part where I'm stuck. This is my second attempt, at first attempt I tried to protect it with a satin poly and it turned out really shiny and not at all what I was looking for. Long story short I ended up resanding the entire thing, this is my last chance though since I think the top is a veneer and I doubt it will handle another round of sanding. So I really need help, how should I protect it with out getting a shiny or sticky surface or ruining the stain I worked so hard to get perfect? I've been doing a lot of looking and I thought maybe tung oil would be my solution, but their is a lot of conflicting info so now I'm completely confused. This is my first project not using an all in one stain, and I love the result so far but I'm very inexperienced. Thanks.
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Several coats of poly, and then some fine steelwool until you have the matte you want.

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I'll second that, but I would use a wipe-on polyurethane. The coats go on thinner therefore you might have more control over the sheen.
Good luck.
--
Stoutman
http://www.garagewoodworks.com
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Gloss finishes don't have the flatteners to knock down the reflections and those flatteners obscure the wood. Suggest use gloss and after the finish cures degloss it with steel wool and let the grain show.

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Yup. That.
Let the poly cure for a least a week. More is better. Even though the can will say it cures in a day, it can take month to completely cure. If the finish is still soft, the wool can bite in a little more than you intended. I like to use a little paste wax to lubricate the wool. It leaves a very silky-to-the-touch surface.
-Steve
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