bamboo Blanda build-finish suggestions

ive got some way into a bamboo blanda bowl speaker build, and after sanding off the thin lacquer im surprised how well the surface has sanded smooth. Bamboo is much nicer to work with than i expected and now im stuck with what finish to apply. My usual would be to use a clear varnish, and recently it would generally be water based. However, would a spirit varnish or another finish bring out the lustre of the grain better? I actually like the tanning of wood with time (or is it the varnish that tans?) so thats not a problem. Does anyone have any ideas for what would do these things?
 

prairieboy

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2010-11-22 2:31 am
Water based finishes typically finish 'clear' (cold, possibly slightly 'blue') and won't add warmth or depth (warm, slightly 'yellow') with exposure to light. (Fine Woodworking magazine/web site has had some good articles on same). A mix of spar varnish and boiled linseed oil (Danish oil) will give a superb finish, and once fully dried, and waxed, will be easy to dust and won't need re-oiling. Additionally, being somewhat oil based, it can easily be re-touched if marred. Alternately, try a good shellac (dewaxed, and not old) as a 'warm' sealer, and then finish with either the previously mentioned oil/varnish mix or an alkyd varnish (though straight varnishes are a pain).
 
thanks prairieboy. I fully agree, the satin waterbased stuff ive used is cooler, and on the birch ply it works well since i wanted the raw wood colour. The bamboo is far warmer when i remove dust with a damp rag, and is much richer. Whay yoy suggest sounds like what im seeking.

Thanks for the tips, i should read around and find those articles.
 
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prairieboy

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2010-11-22 2:31 am
You're most welcome. You can play with the mix of oil and varnish: more oil, less varnish (approx 70/30) and its slower drying, so it's easier to work with, but dries less hard. Switch those percentages, and it dries faster, so you have to be careful, but the finish is harder. Of course, you can work any percentages in between and you might want to do some test pieces to see what mix you like the best, and with which you feel the most comfortable.
 
A small update. I went to the DIY store and bought some linseed, clear exterior varnish and also pre mix french polish (it was cheap!). I tried the polish and decided that I could learn to do a good job, once I looked further than the directions on the Can. So i am leaving that for another day. In the end i just used the varnish with a small amount of oil, around 10%. Finish is pretty good, considering my modest skills.