finishing birch plywood

I have built some kitchen cabinets with maple face frames and birch plywood. I am trying to finish the plywood so that it looks light in color very similar to what it looks like with out anything on it. So far I have used poly oil based, brushing lacquer, and have tried a sanding sealer with both. The plywood has gotten darker with each product. Can anyone tell me how to protect the plywood but not darken it? Will a water based poly work for this application?
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On Sun, 26 Aug 2007 15:58:20 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Water based products are great with birch when no color is desired.
Try a scrap panel with a good quality water based varnish available near you. Follow the directions on the can for the specific product you choose, including a light sanding after the first coat. Water raises the grain of wood, so a sanding (maybe 220 grit) after the first coat of water based product is very necessary after the first coat, if a sanding sealer is not used.
Not all water based products are created equal, so if you don't like one, try another. Some have come a long way, some still aren't very good. Here's a very recent comparison: <http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/fw_187_046.asp
Don't put it on the actual parts until you have a good handle on application, and are happy with the results.
--------------------------------------------- ** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html ** ---------------------------------------------
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Thanks for the info Barry. I'll give it a try.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in wrote:

And next time you have a go at this type of cabinet, check with your plywood folks to see if they have prefinished birch or maple for you to buy. A LOT easier to use, saves a bunch of time and not that much more $$$.
Patriarch
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The waterbased stuff is great for what you want. I like to use exterior clear acrylic for cabinets and for the interior of the vintage travel trailers we restore.
www.vintagetrailersforsale.com
Craig

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I have the best luck with blonde shellac.
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Thanks to all that replied. I'll reply with the results.
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On Aug 27, 7:48 pm, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

The water-based poly worked great. That is just what I was hoping for. I used oil based poly on the face frames because I like the amber tone it gives. I stained the face frames first with the smallest bit of olympic colonial maple. I rub it on and off quickly as not to make the wood too dark. My cabinet project is coming out pretty nice.
Again, thanks to all of you that helped.
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