Explanation: I prefer alkyd to latex for surfaces that get heavy use
because latex is a softer finish and stains more easilly. Cleanup is a
tad more work, but very little difference in application. Latex stains
easily with some inks and food colorants. As far as I know, wood should
always have a primer for any kind of painted coating. Choose a good
brand at a paint store and the paint label will indicate proper prep.
Only time I would not prime wood is when a "pickled" finish is used.
Pickled finishes are better for open grain wood, like oak or ash. I did
such a finish on oak using slightly thinned oil paint, with clear coat
on top, which got the icky yellow out of old oak. Very pretty.