Yeah, I had plans to buy a piece of select pine to test some things on-- different cuts and layers of shellac, and maybe some Danish oil or Waterlox for good measure. I also wanted to test the sealcoat and water-based poly, as I have heard some reports of crazing in this process...
Well, "select" pine isn't really gonna cut it for my purposes. I know it's a good thing-- they had clearcut a shocking percentage of forest by the early part of the century, and that was a terrible and unfortunate practice. It also means there is nothing I can get at the big box store that compares, and I have a feeling that the newer heart pine that you might find at a good lumberyard is not really comparable either-- at only 50-80% heart, it's just not the same. And the big box stuff? It had maybe 8-10 rings, maybe 20-30 in some of the tighter-grained boards, across a 6 or 8 inch plank. Ours has about 15-20+ rings per inch, as many as 30 in some places. Granted the newer boards are not quartersawn, but this is also a much less common practice these days-- and rightly so, because it wastes a lot of perfectly good wood.
So I abandoned the plan-- I'd hate to waste the time and money testing something that isn't even a fair representation when I could be baking yummy English toffee and stained glass cookies for Christmas!
Anyway, I guess we'll be testing the stuff in a closet while we work this weekend. Results to come.