Wood should feel like wood,
not polished to a high gloss –
This Shaker-style table from my woodworking class remains unfinished. That is to say, no finishing has been applied to the bare wood. I’ve done some sanding, to get rid of the tool marks and rough bits, but only up to about 120 grit.
Part of the delay has been to allow the wood to take on a patina from exposure to the air, something I read somewhere as being a good thing for pine. Results have been inconclusive, I’d say at this point.
There was talk of painting it, which would be another reason not to carry the sanding thing to excess. But I think I’m leaning towards a wipe-on oil finish. Lee Valley makes something called Tried & True™ Traditional Finishes, which they describe thusly:
Most finishes today contain petroleum distillates, solvents or heavy metal drier additives. These don’t. Developed largely from polymerized linseed oil with other natural-product additives, the finishes strictly adhere to the standards established by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and qualify as non-toxic and safe for food-contact surfaces in both their uncured and cured (wet and dry) states.
I used one of these finishes, the “Tried & True™ Varnish Oil” with some success on a smaller project, but I think I might try the “Original Wood Finish” variety on the table. If only because it’s “adapted from an original Shaker recipe”, which seems appropriate.