Bolivian Rosewood - Best Finish?

I’m just about finished with my first custom stick. I wasn’t sure what type of wood to go with, so picked out some nice Bolivian Rosewood. I really like the look of the stick, but I’m having some trouble finishing with an oil-based polyurethane. The stuff will not dry, and was still tacky after five days. I decided to strip, and go with something else (trying to hit the SFIV deadline).

Any recommendations on finishing Bolivian Rosweood? I picked up shellac without much prior research, and it seems to be challenging to work with. I’d prefer a clear coat that doesn’t amber/yellow. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.

I used a tabletop varnish. With the varnish and the reducer, it’s like $20 or so. Reduce about 50% for an undercoat, then reduce by about 20% for the final coat(s). You’d have to wait a few days between coats, but it’ll look fantastic. If that isn’t an option, any method for finishing furniture will work well. I believe lacquer dries relatively quickly, but you’d need a bunch of coats. Keep in mind that a spray-on finish will be faster, but it can leave an even, but usually unwelcome texture on the surface.

EDIT: After rereading, it seems I breezed over the details. I’ll be a bit more specific.

If you’re looking for a gloss finish, a spray lacquer should do well and will dry pretty quickly. You’ll need a lot of thin coats to build up a nice base. The upside is you only need to wait a few minutes between coats. If you’re satisfied with the finish of it right out of the can, it should be dry enough to handle within an hour or two and plenty usable within a day or so.

If you want more of a mirror finish, it’ll take some more work, but it’s not too difficult. After a couple of days, it should harden up really nicely and takes to wet sanding rather well. Get a good few coats down and let it harden up. When it stops stinking, you know it’s hard. Then use a some 400 grit or so and wet sand it until it’s nice and flat. Try to eliminate any shiny areas. Then lay down another several coats. Let it harden again and reflatten it with 400. Repeat until it’s as thick as you like. Then after the last round of spray, let it harden again and wet sand with 400, 600, then 800. Then buff it up with some steel wool (000 or 0000). After you get a nice consistent appearance, put down a little polish or rubbing compound and go to it with a soft cloth. With enough polish and elbow grease, you’ll have a glass-clear and mirror-smooth finish.

Also, remember to use a mask if you’ve got one and try to keep some good ventilation. The fumes off of the stuff are pretty killer.

I used the water base minwax poly stuff on my stick… dried in like 2 hours but I waited 3 to start sanding it. Did 5 or 6 coats of it (dont remember which) and I think it looks great! Super smooth, nice and glossy too. You can still feel some of the wood grain but I liked it that way… just my 2 cents…

I haven’t worked with that wood yet but found this:

I’ve used Minwax Polycrylic with good success on all my sticks that are dyed different colors (because it doesn’t amber or yellow) It goes on thinner than regular polyurethane though, about 3 light coats of polycrylic = 1 coat of polyurethane.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I decided to go with a water-based poly (Polycrylic), and have applied four thin coats. It’s been drying quickly as expected, and is starting to look good.

I’m almost ready for the final coat. Any suggestions for the final coat? I have been sanding with 320/400/600 between coats, and plan to wet-sand with 600 for the final. I’m hoping to maintain a glossy finish.