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Another alternative would be a modern spar varnish. It is tung oil modified with urethane and what boat makers are using to finish their interiors. You can thin it to any degree you want, and a thinned first coat will penetrate and seal deeply; then you can finish with a heavier coat. A good brand is Man-O-War, and it is available from Ace Hardware in either gloss or mat, canned or aerosol (aerosol doesn't apply well in tightly enclosed areas, incidentally).
It is popular with people refinishing wooden gun stocks because of its sealing properties (prevents warping) and beautiful finish when hand rubbed. For those who want hand-rubbed paneling in their boats, this is the way to go; just kidding.
The product is made for your application, and will probably match the existing finish better than other methods.
Last edited by jones2r; 12-20-2006 at 01:51 AM.