I have been buying unfinished wood and finishing it with satin oil based polyurethane. It was a lengthy process because I sprayed 3 coats on each side plus light sanding between coats. Plus there was the cleaning of the paint gun each time.
Well, I found a much faster way. I bought a can of Varathane Triplet Thick water based polyurethane. One coat applied with a paint brush on each side and a light sanding with a fine sanding disk that was just about worn out. The finish looks just like proof grade and the best part was the time savings. The poly dries very quickly and the brush was easily cleaned with soap and water.
I’ve been working with wood for decades, and my dad was a hobby carpenter, so I picked up the basics from him.
Sanded BB takes a coat of paint or poly nicely, but if I want a “proofgrade” finish, I often have to apply multiple coats with light sanding between. I very rarely do it but it is satisfying to end up with a glass-hard finish on BB, for example. I now use Columbia Forests maple ply (from THD) more than anything these days, as the local sources for BB became less reliable, and it comes sanded in GF-sized sheets - just one coat of poly gives a very nice finish.