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I recently got a hard maple table top that I am going to build a kitchen table with. I am looking for opinions on how to correctly finish this unfinished wood. I would like to have it be as close to a natural color as possible, with maybe the slightest light brown color. I do not want it to be super glossy though. I have heard butchers wax/or bowling alley wax and I've seen a video on youtube where a guy used it on his butternut desk--and it looked amazing.
 

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The wax finish is going to be high maintenance. It's not going to like getting wet. You would end up fighting with water spots sanding and re-applying the wax. Then if you use a stain it would involve refinishing. For a kitchen table I would use a film finish. You have to be careful which finish you use though. Many finishes have an initial yellowing and continue to yellow with age. Oil finishes especially yellow. You could use any finish that is acrylic or a water based polyurethane. These finishes are available in a satin finish so should work for you.
 

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You will regret a wax "finish!" Maple will yellow with time so a clear water borne finish with urethane resin will be a good bet. I'd avoid the use of stain on maple. Unless you are very good with finishing it will end up blotchy. If you feel you must stain, do a wash coat first. That or don't stain and use toning to get the desired color. Toning is often used by professional finishers but may not be a good idea if you are not used to using it. KISS, clear natural finish. Any finish with an oil base will darken and yellow the maple.
 
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