Birch is softer than red oak, but has a tighter grain, making it very easy to finish.  It is similar to cherry in its density and resistance to abrasion.

This is simply a clear top-coat, allowing the natural characteristics of the wood to be on display.

Wiping Stains
These finishes are achieved by applying a stain and wiping off the excess, allowing the natural wood grain to remain prominent.

Spray-No-Wipe Stains
These finishes are applied by spraying a toner on the wood to achieve an even, consistent color, particularly on wood species that tend to take stain unevenly.

Combination Stains
These finishes use both a wiping stain and a toner to achieve deep, rich colors.