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I have to put a clear coat of finish on some red oak and I would like to keep the wood as bright as possible. Can anyone recommend a product for this? I don't do a lot of finishing and this is only for the interior of some cabinets.

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Hardwood floors/custom cabinets
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Water bourne or pre cat lacquer will keep them as bright as possible. Both are water clear. But they don't do a lot to bring out the beauty of the wood. Leave it plastic looking IMO.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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I'd head to the hardware store and pick up some "wiping varnish" and wipe on 2-3 coats. You don't have to worry about taping off, overspray or brush marks. You should be able to get 3 coats on in a day if the humidity is decent.

You can make your own...50% polyurethane and 50% naphtha which will dry faster.

Probably the easiest finish to do with no fuss.
 
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