Recommend Finish For White Oak End Tables

I have just completed two end tables made of quarter sawn white oak. I want to leave them in their natural color when finishing them. I really am bored with the standard polyurethane finish option. Would you please recommend some different techniques / materials for finishing these pieces?
Thank You in advance, 9/11/2003
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Shellac. If you want to get fancy, you could french polish the top.
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:
http://www.am-wood.com/finishes/finishes.html http://www.samallen.com/woodchar.html
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http://www.homesteadfinishing.com/htdocs/mission_oak.htm
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A "Sam Maloof type finish" is nice for QSWO (4 or 5 coats of equal parts tung/BLO/poly, followed by 2 coats of tung/BLO/wax mixture).
it is time consuming, but worth the effort, IMO.
If I want a light finish on the oak, I use Zar's Provincial 114 stain beforehand ... this still gives you a very light color.
Take a look at the traditional table and/or A&C coffee table on my website for examples of the finish as above.
You might want to consider an additional film finish for just the tops if they are going to be used for drinks, etc. A gel varnish like Bartley's works for me in that regard.
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: I have just completed two end tables made of quarter sawn white oak. I want : to leave them in their natural color when finishing them. I really am bored : with the standard polyurethane finish option. Would you please recommend : some different techniques / materials for finishing these pieces? : : Thank You in advance,
I just discovered shellac yesterday. I'm impressed. Brushed on, looks smooth, only minor sand/buff to polish (which I didn't do yet). I did fill the pores with (ehem) wall patch compound, but it looks great.
I also followed the techniques in a book (imagine that) that I bought. I'll get the name of it later.
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Joseph E. Shea, Jr. wrote:

Give shellac a try! I, too was bored of poly. I'm learning the joys of shellac on my current project. Much less fumes. Dries in 1/10th of the time. Not quite as tough as poly...but much tougher than oil finishes.
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I have been building furniture items out of white oak for about 2 years now. The finish I like best is to stain the white oak with a light golden oak stain and to top coat it with a clear high gloss pre-catalized lacquer. The pre-catalized lacquer is highly resistant to moisture and to normal scuffing. If you sand the last coat of the lacquer with 500, 1000, and 2000 grit sand paper you will get a finish that is perfectly smooth, almost clear in color, and a mat finish that showes of the grain of the wood beautifully.
Try this technique. Everyone to his own taste but you may find that you like this finish much more than poly. I know that I do. This finish is probably as durable as the poly with out the plastic look of the poly.

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On Thu, 11 Sep 2003 16:56:56 GMT, "Joseph E. Shea, Jr."

Give Tried & True Varnish Oil a shot. It's good stuff, doesn't reek like some finishes, and doesn't change the color much at all.
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