Newbie question: finishes...

Obviously, finishing a woodworked project is a basic matter, and has undoubtedly been discussed here and elsewhere ad infinitum. So I'll make this short and sweet:
I'm about to tackle my first furniture grade project, using red oak. It will be a simple hutch to sit on my desk. Building it is not a problem, but I find that in all the books I've collected, there is nothing substantive about finishes. So I've got some books to buy and study.
I'd like to finish this piece with a somewhat deep glowing reddish brown, and with a high gloss finish (the kind where one looks down into the wood grain, which has then taken on a three dimensional effect... like musical instruments are finished).
So I'd like the following, please:
1) Comments on the appropriateness and difficulty (or ease) of doing this with red oak.
2) Advise on who are considered to be the top experts in fine woodwork finishing, and what books they've written.
I've lurked here before, and got the sense that the regulars here are the kind of guys one might like to get to know!
Thanks all,
Bill Tallman
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homesteadfinishing.com operated by Jeff Jewitt is a finishing expert that teaches,writes, makes videos, runs an excellent forum and has search capabilities on his site. woodfinishingsupplies.com operated by Russ Ramirez, another finishing expert with forum as well. Tartgetcoatings.com operated by Jeff Weiss makers of waterbased finishes. Believe I'd finish the project using French Polishing where the pores get filled with Pumice that becomes transparent when used this way with shellac. I read many descriptions about French Polishing and the words FINALLY came together as I watched Jeff's video Hand Applied Finishes. Practice on scraps so you don't practice on your project!
On Fri, 08 Aug 2003 01:15:04 -0700, "William D. Tallman"

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William D. Tallman wrote:

Flexner. "Understanding Wood Finishing". Possibly the only book you'll need.
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Chris Merrill
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William D. Tallman wrote:
<snip>
Thanks to all for the information! I'm off to get Flexner's book....
Bill Tallman
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