Hi guys, I have recently been experimenting with different types of finishes. First off lets talk about a old school finish, linseed oil. Linseed oil is a fairly good finish. It brings out the grain and color of wood. The main problem with linseed oil is it doesn't provide protection to the wood, also it can be sticky and you have to reapply every so often. Second is water based Varathane Polly Urathane. I really like Varathane's water based polly. It dries fairly quick and you can polish it up quite nicely. My main complaints are it doesn't dry nearly as hard as oil based and scratches easily. My favorite finish so far is Varathane Gloss Polly Urathane. It dries very hard and is very shiny. The oil based is much more durable and is a nicer finish. The only downside is it take a fair amount of time to dry. Usually about four hours in dry weather and much longer in rainy weather. Also it doesn't apply as evenly as water based. I highly suggest the oil based varathane. Another product I have used is Min Wax Poly Acrylic. Very hard for water based. It dries very quick to. I think the main idea is a hard finish to protect the wood. Pretty much clear. Overall I would recommend the Varathane Gloss Oil Based Polly Urathane as my all around favorite finish.