I am making a dining table out of walnut which is highly figured. What is the best finish so that the table can be used? I know French Polishing it will really enhance the timber but it seems so fragile and prone to damage, so I wonder if there is anything you can do to protect it and make it more durable and user friendly?
You may be able to with the right lacquer (or "lacquer") but you probably don't have the expertise and equipment to apply one to the necessary standard. But that's OK because you can do what you want with polyurethane varnish and that is easily applied to a high standard by thinning it and applying it as wiping varnish.
See previous Answer for more on wiping varnish.