I have been reading on finishes for a while, and got some great input from members on this forum. I'd like a finish that is readily available, not too hard to apply, provides great waterproofing and resistance to the wood, yet enhances its natural features while keeping it natural. Here's a quick reference guide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_finishing
Stephen suggested Tung Oil,
Researching it more, it indeed seems to be a very good finish for the nets. It's relatively "natural", that is, not synthetic, and I like that. It rubs in well and penetrates the wood well too, initial testing on a piece of manzanita has given me great impressions.
Sources online say:
"Tung oil may be a better choice for wood products that are often in contact with human hands" (http://www.ehow.com/about_5938734_watco ... z0tja9U7c7
) - GOOD.
"provides a tough, flexible and highly water-resistant coating" ;
"resists marring, penetrates well, is elastic and unlikely to check. Tung oil builds quickly, consolidates the wood surface and builds a transparent matte finish";
"In recent years, those who appreciate the warm richness of beautiful wood have begun to realize what the ancient Chinese knew; when turned into a finishing product, Tung Oil is the finest natural wood finish in existence and has yet to be duplicated synthetically!"
Polymerized Tung oil as a penetrating oil allows wood to continue its aging process and to develop its patina. The wood's rich color and grain are enhanced by the natural ambering (coloring) of Polymerized Tung oil over time. Any sign of wear disappears when a thin "maintenance" coat of oil is rubbed in. The maintenance coats, rather than cause a build-up, actually improve the patina as they protect and preserve the wood." (http://www.mastergardenproducts.com/tungoil.htm
The other finish I have been most intrigued by and researching is Nitrocellulose lacquer
Nitrocellulose lacquer is widely used for finishing guitars. It's not nearly as commonly found as Tung oil, but it may be found with some research. The main benefits are its water resistance, protection, and if desired it has a glossier finish (Tung oil doesn't seem to offer much of a "shield", but for a net one should plan on some 7-10 coats and that should be good). It also dries more quickly. But, it can also be more prone to cracking. In sum, I may test this one out if I get my hands on it, but my bet right now is on Tung oil.
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