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I've had to repair a split in our dining table and, as part of that, decided to sand it all down to refinish.

I'm not entirely sure of the species. It's a hardwood, and I'm guessing tropical. It has a slight pinkish hue to it.

It was originally stained dark and, while it looked nice, we actually really like the look of the bare, non-glossy, much lighter wood now that we've sanded it.

As such, I'd like to finish it in a way that doesn't alter the color much. Would simply be applying polyurethane be enough? Are there any oils that wouldn't alter the color much and be considered food safe that you'd recommend?

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I apologize, I misread the question. Ignore my vote to close. – The Evil Greebo Nov 13 '12 at 19:33
You should know that many woods will darken over time. Even if you finish with a clear coat the color will change slightly (although not as much as a stain would change it). – Henry Jackson Nov 14 '12 at 17:03

If you like the current look of the wood, then you should not stain it, as any stain will alter the color. 2 or 3 coats of clear polyurethane will highlight the look of the wood without altering the color.

I suggest a clear, satin finish, as glossy would make your table look shiny.

Such as: enter image description here

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The label on your Minwax example warns that it should not be used on light wood because it can turn yellow. – ArgentoSapiens Nov 13 '12 at 20:02
Good point - be sure to check the label (I just grabbed a picture of clear poly ;) ) – The Evil Greebo Nov 13 '12 at 20:05
are all Polyurethane's prone to yellowing? – DA01 Nov 13 '12 at 20:11
You might consider a neutral oil stain from Minwax. It will not really color the wood, but will add some depth. Then use an oil based urethane. I have used Clear poly for years and haven't noticed any substantial yellowing even on white pine. – shirlock homes Nov 13 '12 at 20:26
Shellac and varnish have a tenancy to yellow, where as clear polyurethane usually does not. – Tester101 Nov 14 '12 at 13:04

Look for an acrylic based finish whose label says it's non-yellowing. There are several brands.

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Why do you recommend acrylic based finishes over other types? – Tester101 Nov 14 '12 at 17:50

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