Struggling to find a finish
Hi All - Hoping someone can guide me here. I have been reading forums for the past few days and am beyond confused on what kind of finish to use on my my wood project - I think it's Cedar, but it's not the Eastern Red Cedar, Picture below. I'm making a table/bar and I never realized how many finishing options were available. Originally I was just going to stain/polly using Minwax products but after a ton of reading, I haven't a clue what to do and I have read a lot of contradictory info.
I was thinking about using a bar top epoxy but from what I understand it's risky to use this over an oil based finish. Is that true ? I know there are some exceptions like MirrorCoat being tested with MixWax.
My goal is to bring out the wood grain, darken it a little, but I also want a strong finish that will not be damaged by drink spills, etc.
I started looking at spar varnish, but I'm not sure it has the kind of protection I'm looking for. I definitely like the way it looks thought. Others have suggested a shellac with a 2k polly over it which I've never heard of before.
If someone has a few minutes, can you provide some opinions. Thanks a lot.