I often use a poly to finish my wood projects. It helps the grain pop, adds a bit of depth and even with a satin finish, you get a bit of 'sparkle' which always looks great.
But I now have a project where I'm using some reclaimed, weathered, distressed wood and I'd actually like to preserve the flat, muted look, yet still protect it (as it will be a table).
I've read one option is to go ahead with the poly, and then buff it with 0000 steel wool to knock back the sheen. That's an option, but I worry that will still darken the colors more than I'd like.
What types of clear finishes should I consider that would minimally change the look of the wood as it is now unfinished?