Who's the sexier guy/gal in the furniture making process: The artsy designer furiously scribbling in their overstuffed sketchbook, or the sawdust-covered craftsperson with their array of amazing tools?
I'll tell you who it ain't: The finisher. You can probably name tons of designers and craftspeople, but not one famous finisher. No one brags that they own a chair that was finished by Lynn C. Doyle. The finisher is the most slept-on person in the furniture process, yet provides that crucial protective coat and determines the final texture and color of the piece.
Here's a video of furniture finishing vet Brian Miller, an instructor at the William Ng School of Fine Woodworking, a well-regarded institution in Southern California. Miller explains how to apply a simple but effective hand-rubbed finish using stuff you can get at the local hardware store. (He also advises you on the proper way to dispose of those troublesome oily rags. I like to throw mine in the corner near a stack of old newspapers next to the furnace, but I guess Miller's way makes sense too.)