I went to a (slightly unusual*) Woodcraft store on Saturday and bought,
among other things, a can of Waterlox. I made a few quick test pieces
and applied some of the Waterlox without any attempt to read up on how
to do it.
The three test pieces were bits of scrap I had been using to practice
using a plane. All had been brown and wrinkled with age, but were now
clean and pretty smooth. Two were pine (or something like pine), the
first a pretty nice piece of 2x2 with straight grain, the other a short
length of common 2x4 with knots in it. The third piece was oak.
I applied the Waterlox fairly liberally with a foam brush and didn't
fuss over it too much. I put the pieces outside while I worked on other
things. ("outside" would probably be too dusty for a real project)
I came back to the pieces the next day. The Waterlox appeared to have
absorbed unevenly, which I imagine is to be expected. It tended to sit
on top of the darker parts of the grain and sink in more in the lighter
areas. This was especially true of the oak piece.
The fellow at the store* had said that there is no need to steel wool
in-between coats, so I decided to put on a couple more and see what
I'm up to three coats now, and I'm wondering what the next step might
be. I think it's likely that it will be to "take three steps back and do
it the right way", but I'd be interested to hear what the good folks
here think. The variable "height" and gloss of the finish on the grain
is less pronounced now, but still there. Maybe I let it cure awhile and
steel wool it?
* The "store" is the Woodworkers' Club of Norwalk Connecticut, which
apparently rents out time in their shop for very reasonable rates. It's
an hour from home, but I may just avail myself of their (larger) tools
for some future project. The salespeople all seem to be woodworkers, so
I took the minor bit of "advice" I got to be reliable.