Now we finish. I've been working on replicating the look of aged lacquer on birch plywood. I've tried a few different things, tung oil, shellac, stains. Tung oil is okay, but seems to work better on solid woods where it can really soak in deeply. Shellac is nice, but a bit too orange. Stains have the same issue as tung oil, in that they just don't seem to penetrate or have enough effect. This time I used Minwax's Polyshades in Pecan, satin. My theory is that most of that warm amber glow on the vintage cabinetry I've seen in the neighborhood is the lacquer yellowing, not a stain or the color of the wood per say. This stuff actually has the color in the polyurethane, so the color sits on top of the wood. I like the way this took and will probably do the same thing again next time.
Matt has more photos and details about his project over at Our Cliff Mat Rancho Rehab for you to ooh and ahh over. Great job and we can't wait for the kitchen makeover (we're also in envy mode of his workshop space/tools).