Satin finish doesn't give you gloss, it gives you sheen. I'm like your wife in that I also hate gloss on wood almost always, so I use satin finishes. A wood with no sheen just looks raw, dull, boring. You can achieve sheen by applying straight oil or wax and buffing, but those finishes offer nearly zero protection...not suitable for a table that will be used. Shellac will offer a bit more protection than oil or wax but not much more, and it will be much more work to get shellac to a satin or matte sheen.
Arm-R-Seal satin, IMO, is the fastest, easiest way to a finish that makes the perfect compromise between protection and appearance. Here are a couple recent walnut projects of mine finished with ARS satin.
There's a few options out there to consider for my MM20 bandsaw. While yes I know I'm not a production shop and I'm not running thousands of linear feet a week through my saw, I would like to weigh my options.
The saw uses a 168" blade, here are my options
Laguna Resaw King 2-3 TPI - $299
Lenox Trimaster 2-3 TPI - $229
Lenox Woodmaster CT 1.3 TPI - $149
Timberwolf Carbide 2-3 TPI - $238
The RK can be resharpened 4-5 times, Timberwolf (Suffolk Machinery) will resharpen a Trimaster or a Timberwolf carbide blade for about the cost as the Resaw King probably 2-3 times at most. The woodmaster has a weird alternating tip geometry that makes resharpening it something nobody wants to do.
I have an old Davis & Wells jointer which had what sounds like a similar type of problem. It would fire up, run for a couple of minutes, and then stop. Five or ten minutes later I could repeat the short-lived operation if I cared to. I know very little about electricity and I'm not sure if it is the same with your motor but mine needed a "heater element". I found one on ebay for $6.
Maybe your heater element is bad. Or possibly your heater element is for 220v and you are running it on 110v.
As I understand it, a heater element acts as a thermal cut-out switch so that the motor doesn't over heat. You have to get the one which is appropriate for the motor and the voltage you are using (110 or 220v). That info is usually found in the chart which is on that metal plate on the side of the motor.
Edited for spelling.
I am in the US. Nashville TN to be exact. I do have access to a woodcraft store also.
As far as look. When I say natural I mean zero gloss (she hates gloss) and no darker than it currently is. It is a very soft brown with only the grain pattern visible. I'll try to post some pics tonight.
I've never used Arm R Seal. I'll look into it. I'll try to get a list of the different finishes I'm going to try based on you guys responses. So keep them coming please.
The beeswax mixture is interesting. I don't mind touching it up so I'll try that to.
I'm worried about shellac because of the alcoholic dilemma and it being a coffee table. Does wine/beer/liquor REALLY melt it back down?
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