What is a durable but natural looking finish for a Walnut dining table?
I know this kind of question has been asked a thousand times, but I have to ask because my head is awash with different opinions from trawling the internet looking for the right wood finish.
I am making a Walnut dining table, and when I come to finish it, I need a finish that is two things...
1. Durable: as it's a dining table, it will get wear and tear. Ideally I don't want to be in a situation where it needs to be refinished/repaired again and again.
2. Natural looking: that looks as if the timber is bare and unfinished (or as close to this as possible with commonly available products). I don't mind if the timber colour becomes a little richer, but I don't want the surface to have any kind of sheen, or apparent film layer.
My understanding is this...
Wax is not an option because of its durability - it's susceptible to wear and also moisture.
I've used water-based matt varnish in the past, but it leaves a plasticky look to the surface. I've read that thinning the varnish and applying just a couple of thin coats will give a less plastic look - any thoughts on this?
So, I'd appreciate suggestions about what products would achieve this type of finish - please let me know what kind of experience you've had with what you're suggesting!