I am trying a new approach with my finish on this project. I normally just brush on two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane, but I recently watched a video, by Tom Iovino, on Creating a wipe-on-poly finish.
For this finish, I still use my semi-gloss polyurethane but I cut it with thinner and boiled linseed oil. It goes on smoothly with an old rag and leaves no drips or brush marks behind. It is thinner than a normal coat of poly, but it dries a lot faster and it soaks into the wood giving you protection below the surface. The boiled linseed oil is supposed to offer the added benefit of drawing out the grain a little more.
I start by marking amount levels, on a jelly jar, with a permanent marker. I use two parts poly, one part thinner, and one part boiled linseed oil. I mixed it thoroughly by shaking, then let the bubbles settle.
Next I grabbed a piece of an old tee-shirt and started wiping. It went on quickly and looked nice. And, as promised, there were no drips. You just wipe off any excess and you are done. By the time I finished the second bench, the first one was nearly dry. The bench was very smooth to the touch. I will go back down in an hour or so and put on a second coat after a quick sanding with my scotch brite pad. Although, this stuff dries so quickly that hardly any dust has had a chance to stick in the finish.