Many people are building their projects out of exotic woods now, thanks in part to Woodcraft and Rockler making these woods readily available. The only problem is you will have the devils own time trying to get a straight answer on how to finish these woods.
Case in point: I built some cribbage boards out of African Padauk. I tried all the sources I could think of for an answer on how to finish this wood. Even the Minwax Forum which usually has good answers came up blank. I decided it was time for some trial and error testing. My first attempt involved wiping down the wood with alcohol to remove any surface oils, then treating it with Watco Neutral Danish oil. The bright orange wood turned the most deep beautiful reddish brown. I was delighted with the results.
One note: Padauk is very dense and will require a great deal of fine finish sanding. This wood dust is supposed to be very toxic, so be sure to wear good dust protection, and be prepared for fine orange dust everywhere.
For what it's worth, I have had good results with Arm-r-seal gloss on Padauk. Waterlox original should give good results too. As always, you should save some scraps to test finishes on no matter what you read on a forum, your mileage may vary!
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