txpaulie, I typically do 2 to 3 coats with a friction polish, then 2 coats with a minwax wipe on poly for that extra protection. None of my stoppers so far have seen a lot of handling or use since I just started doing this at the beginning of January, but it seems to be a pretty standard finish from what I've gathered on the board here.
bonanza35, mine is right around elbow height which is pretty comfortable for me, but it puts the bandsaw a little bit high, and the bench ginder a little bit low, but of the 3 tools I'm on the lathe 95% of the time so the other two aren't as important to me, at least not right now.
I still need to build a rack for tools that swings out from the bench when in use, but can be locked against the bench when not in use or when I need to move the bench. One thing I'm really glad I added was the small shelf underneath the lathe to hold faceplates, drive centers, chucks, allen wrenches, whatever else I may want or need close at hand.
I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.