That is a gorgeous piece of wood you have there. If you could keep the bark on it would be very pretty as a table. (Pity they nicked the one side of the crotch, tho...)
I've built two sofa table using Maple/Walnut and applied 6+ coats of Waterlox - sanding with 320 on one or two coats during the wipe-on - and ended up with a super smooth satin finish that really emphasizes the grain. You'll get density with added coats.
I'm in the school that avoid stains unless you need to match up color density between different pieces of the same wood - did so on a walnut piece and it helped a lot. I use Amber Shellac on Oak for a Craftsman look, a warm stain on Pine if it fits the piece, and but prefer no stain usually and find the finish that accents the grain best. Experiment on matching scrap until you find something....
Common Man Woodworking
Last edited by Bstrom; 02-24-2020 at 12:54 PM.