Ok, ready for cutting the top off this box. Fingers crossed…
The maple sides have some figure in them, so I have been looking for a finish to maximize the shift in luster depending on the angle of view, a.k.a. 3D effect, a.k.a. chatoyancy. Just wanted to share my findings from the internet here…
It turned out that maximizing chatoyancy and making the figure more visible are two different things achieved by different means. I guess, the former is sometimes also called glow or grain depth; the latter is also known as “popping the grain”. But they are not the same things, for maple at least.
To “pop the grain”, or to increase the contrast of the grain, the wood has to be dyed. For better penetration of the dye, the wood cannot be sanded beyond grit 150 or 220.
To maximize the chatoyancy, or the 3D effect, the wood has to be sanded to very high grits, 400 and over, and then treated with oil.
This is why BLO is very often used to achieve both goals: it brings out the depth, because it is an oil, and somewhat increases the contrast, because it is quite colored.
I want to keep uniform color and maximize the chatoyancy—therefore will be sanding to high grits and finishing with leftover Waterlox, which is a mixture of oils, varnish and solvents. The tung and linseed oils in this mixture will do the job.
-- "If you're not counting the ripples when throwing pebbles in the water, you're wasting your time."