Finishing A Small Piece Of Red Oak. Min Wax PolyUrethane Or ?

Hi,
Have a piece of red oak, perhaps 12 x 12 x 3/4 which I put a few holes into to mount a small circular barometer.
Wood has a beautiful grain, that I would always like to see.
Several folks at HD and Lowe's said the "best" way to finish it off, and still be able to see the grain, is a clear Min Wax Poly Urethane.
Do you agree ? Or,...?
If the clear Polyurethane, what's the best way of applying it, please ?
A piece of cloth from an old T Shirt ? My finger ? A really high quality brush ? A cheap brush ? One of those throw away foam brushes ? Or ?
One coat enough ? If not, how to handle; sand after dry, and then apply another ?
I'm really a novice at wood finishing, and would be very appreciative for any hints.
Thanks, Bob
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Do you have a few scraps of the same wood to play around with ? Poly will enhance the grain - some stains will make it pop ! .. then poly to protect it. Also beware - some stains will also enhance the defects - like poorly sanded spots or end grain. Read the product label for application instructions. John T.
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On 06/27/2017 4:56 PM, Bob wrote:

...
No, not really, altho it depends on the look you want. Do you want really, shiny, plastic-y coating look or a more subtle shine?
For the novice, the essentially foolproof solution I'd suggest would be to use a wiping oil instead; I've used the original Minwax oil (in the red can) for 50 years...it you do just flood the surface and wipe then buff. Add a few extra coats for extra luster; finish off with a good paste wax if want a little more shine yet.
There's no worry on brush marks, the no-see-um flying by and getting stuck in the wet surface and it doesn't look like polyurethane (a big plus in my book :) ).
It does have a slight amber color to it that adds a little warm tone; w/ red oak I think it works well...if the section you have has very open pores there will be a little collected in them that will take some time to dry and may be a little seepout that need to rub down later. You can fix this first with a sanding sealer coat first to fill the pores...won't change color but will fill the pores so aren't quite so pronounced...
--


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On 6/27/2017 5:56 PM, Bob wrote:

Poly is the easy way out, not the best.
You can use wiping oils, like Danish oil. Takes a few coats over time to get it really nice. You have to let it cure between.
If I use poly, It takes a while to do it right. Put on a thinned coat. Next day, put on a second coat. After 24 hour, sand, put a third coat.
Now you wait 4 weeks. Yeah, really, 4 weeks. Lightly sand with 220 grit. wet sand with 400 grit. rub with pumice. rub with rottenstone. Wax, usually 2 coats.
There are also fillers you can use with read oak to get it smoother.
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I have a lot of red oak. You get a nice effect with cherry stain, wiped on and off with a rag. It is just enough to brighten up the grain. Then a couple of coats of poly with a good brush will do it. You can thin the first coat about 50:50 with mineral spirits to get better penetration and a smoother coat. Some say it is not necessary because you will be sanding between coats anyway. I usually do tho.
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My favorite wood finishing product is called "Deft". It is basically a brushing lacquer and is available in a spray can.
It is self leveling and will dry quickly enough so as to minimize dust imperfections. It is available in gloss, semi and satin.
If you like the color of the wood, then there is no reason to stain it.
Deft is available at Home Depot:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Deft-1-Aerosol-Satin-Interior-Clear-Wood-Finish-Brushing-Lacquer-01713/100183964
I am not at all fond of polyurethane, to me, it looks like you have dipped the wood in plastic.
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On 06/27/2017 08:04 PM, Stormin' Norman wrote:

+1
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On 6/27/2017 4:56 PM, Bob wrote:

I like linseed oil for a slightly glossy natural wood finish - any "drying oil" will work the same . For best effect you rub the stuff into the wood with your fingers . Rub it in until it gets warm , let it sit for a while , wipe off excess and let it dry for a couple of days . Repeat ... repeat ... repeat until you get the glow you want . This gives a very "warm" finish but it's a lot of work , and most won't invest the time and effort . Those folks are better off using urethane or other varnish type product .
--
Snag
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On 06/27/2017 06:26 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

I cut the boiled linseed with turpentine. It's a nice natural finish and if there ever is a problem, rub a few more coats on. Besides, it smells good. Note: boiled, not raw linseed oil.
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On Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 12:39:40 AM UTC-4, rbowman wrote:

Be *very* careful with your BLO rags!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/v0CPhmplHek?rel=0

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Hi,
I had my entire upstairs done in 3/4" x 2 1/4" red oak two years ago. It's a beautiful (my favorite) wood.
I used a water based sealer, and a clear satin finish on top. This reall brought out the warm qualities of the wood, without darkening or giving a plastic finish look.
I used Bona products. Here's the satin finish.
https://postimg.org/image/hlb8gmwbd/
Of course, it depends on how your unfinished wood looks.
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