I've done a little shellacing and a fair amount of Danish oiling. I'm building a bed (walnut) and was planning to oil it until I realized that projects that I oiled a few years ago that looked fabulous then have dulled somewhat over time. This was mentioned in one book I saw, but generally, it's rare to see that aspect mentioned. I'd like to find a finish that really pops the grain like oil, has a not too glossy look, doesn't dull, and requires little or no maintenance (and won't wear from normal sheet friction and such). Is that a quixotic quest? If so, what are the tradeoffs?
I've never done much real brush work with finishes and I don't have spray equipment, so I'd like to find a process that requires only a modicum of skill. I'm wondering if I can use a little oil for the sake of the grain and then wipe or brush something easy (and not too glossy) over it. Any help out there from you finishing types?