Okay: I've finished several guitars. I've used rattle-can lacquer, rattle-can poly, tru-oil, brush on poly, wipe-on poly, and others, so this isn't my first rodeo. I'm building a new 8-string lap steel this summer and I need a good finish, but my circumstances have changed since I last did a finish. I have a 1-year old, so can't do anything too toxic and I don't have money for a spray equipment. I did my last guitar with wipe on poly and it came out well, but I spent literally weeks sanding, recoating, leveling, and fighting dusk before I finally rubbed out a good gloss finish with no witness lines. It's safe to say I hate wipe-on poly, but it's cheap, low toxicity, and I have my wiping technique down. I would really love an alternative. It would need to be: 1.) Clear (although some ambering is fine) 2.) Hard. This will be a gigging instrument and I'm building it to take a beating. 3.) Low-odor or non-toxic. 4.) Wipable or brushable. I know tru-oil is popular for this type of thing, but I'm not happy with it's final hardness/durability. Something water borne would be really nice, but it's not necessary. Something that burns-in and doesn't leave witness lines would be REALLY nice, but I'm not holding my breath. So, what do you masters of finishing have to say? Am I looking for the impossible? Should I just suck it up and go with the wipe on? Any ideas welcome. Thanks in advance!