The other day, I was in an Amish woodshop...soon to be my woodshop
And he was using a finish called WoodWright Catalyzed Wood Finish. It is a two part system 50/50 that smells like lacquer. Anyway, he was finishing some dressers and the surface was just awesome....so I asked about it. He told me that he had spent a lot of time with lots of different finishes and this stuff is the best he's used and it is hard hard hard. He also said that he makes Hot Pot Holders with this finish and you can put pans on it from the stove without hurting the finish. (with a little wink disclaimer that the pans shouldn't be "too hot") I saw pieces that he had done with 1, 2, and 3 coats on Ash. 1 coat looked rustic, 2 coats was glassy with some ingrain, and 3 coats was like glass.
I want to get some of this stuff, but thought I'd ask the Forum if you'd had any experience with it. I did a search but didnt find any threads. This just might be a great Finish.