We have been getting this question a lot the last few weeks. We were fortunate enough to find an answer from an earlier post on Lumberjocks to this question from the late, great teacher Charles Neal.
Charles Neal Reply:
Arm R Seal is a urethane-based oil and one of my favorites. Polyurethane simply means it’s a blend of 2 or more resins. Most don't like “poly” (meaning 2) because it has a plastic look. This is simply due to sheen. A gloss or semi-gloss can have a plastic look to it. Try a satin.
Aqua Coat Grain Filler is a water-based grain filler and an excellent one. I might add however, anything water-based does not add the warmth. A solvent-based product like Arm R Seal will though. The issue is because of the grain filler being in the grain, the oil will not be able to get there. A simple solution would be to give the raw wood a light coat of de-waxed shellac, then do your grain filler. That way the shellac will add the warmth your speaking of to the wood. Then when its grain-filled, as Aqua Coat dries clear, the color will show through. Now once you sand the piece, the shellac will be removed from the surface, then when the Arm R Seal is applied it will add it back. This way the deeper filled grain and the surface will both have the look you want. A quick note, the warming effect that oil and solvent-based products give us is more a reaction from the chemicals in the products with the wood than them actually adding color.
You can use clear lacquer and it will do the same thing, Water-based is pretty much non-reactive with the wood, so it doesn't have the desired reaction, but a quick coat of shellac will take care of that.
Thank you to Lumberjocks and the late Charles Neil for an informative answer to a common question we receive at Aqua Coat.