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Jo Ann
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I am making, cigar box size, treasure boxes for grand kids. I am using some scrap wood but really cool wood from other projects. Curly maple, some quarter saw oak....some figured cherry...What can I use to really pop the grain but hold up to years of use? I have been out of woodworking for a long time so this is a good project for me to sharpen up my skills. And I really forget as much as I learned. Haven't done much for 13 years and only just started before a car accident took me out of it for a number of years. Thanks....
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>>>> What can I use to really pop the grain but hold up to years of use?

Your best bet is to use an oil based polyurethane interior varnish. The linseed oil used to make poly varnish will "pop" the grain without the need for any other material. Apply three to four coats and let dry/cure for 4-6 weeks for best durability.
 
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