No, pretty sure it was an oil based varnish. Back then GF used tung oil to make their varnish. Today they use something else (probably soy, since the US govt pays farmers to grow soy it is cheap. Just a guess).
Yeah that's common practice. My only problem with him is that he wraps all those doors with frames...they're hardwood panels and they're gonna open those frames up eventually. The guy seems like he should have enough experience that he would know better. It's so 101 but I see it so often. Boggles the mind.