I doubt there’s any problem in finishing more frustrating than fish eye. The problem usually appears as moonlike craters in the first coat of finish seconds after application, but it can also appear as ridges (sometimes called “crawling”), and it can hold off showing itself until the second or third coat.
Two-hundred-year-old furniture looks different than new furniture, even if the old furniture has been well cared for. The difference is caused, primarily, by color change (due to light and oxidation), wear and dirt accumulation as the furniture has aged.
Arguably, the highest art of furniture restoration is recreating age. The ethics of doing so can be debated, but it’s still very difficult. So I love this story.
The most common method of staining is to apply a wet coat and wipe off all or most of the excess before the stain dries. Any application tool can be used to apply the stain – rag, brush or spray gun, or you can dip, then wipe.
You’ll hear shellac tossed around a lot as the “best” sealer, mostly in woodworking magazines targeting amateurs. I’ve come across many professional finishers, however, who believe they should be using shellac rather than the finish itself, a sanding sealer, vinyl sealer or a catalyzed sealer for a first coat.