I personally prefer a more subtle finish – a simple oil or oil and wax mix – that leaves wood feeling like, well, wood. I really like how this piece turned out though. Finished with a water-borne poly, it doesn’t have the plasticy feel that I dislike in film-based finishes.
It’s black cherry that fell over in a neighbor’s yard during a storm. Although this was a piece from where the trunk split into two smaller branches, there wasn’t the typical feathery pattern that comes from that area so I left a little bit of the bark on the outside for extra interest.