The first phase of the finishing process involves lightly scraping all surfaces, removing any lingering pencil marks , and checking for anything else I would not want to have under the finish. The finish itself is thinned shellac applied in multiple coats with an applicator pad. This is a lengthy process as each coat is thin and only with many coats does the finish begin to attain the right sheen and depth.
I decided a couple of years back to begin using more natural finishes on my furniture pieces. The benefits to this are primarily health motivated and as well the finishes are pleasant to use and with the right consistency can be applied with an applicator pad. My finish of choice is thinned clear or super blonde shellac with a light coat of wax afterwards. I mix my own shellac and set myself up to be able to finish a piece of furniture over a period of a few days. Shellac coats dry rather quickly so the possibility of dust nibs on the surface are next to nil. Many thinned coats almost guarantee a nice, even finish if the strokes of the applicator pad are offset every so often.
It's interesting to notice how much the upper cabinet ( armoire) has already naturally darkened compared to the armoire stand which is only recently put together. This disparity in color will blend together over the next two weeks or so, one of the great features of cherry.