I am restoring an old tripod, similar to the one I have attached a picture of (mine is in pieces at the moment); the difference is my tripod has wooden struts (not metal) between the legs and center column. There is a large wooden base on top of the tripod for the camera to sit. I took the tripod apart, stained the wooden pieces, polished the hardware and replaced the felt on the top base plate.
However, I was wondering if I should use a polyurethane lacquer to seal it? The tripod originally has no finish to the wood other than a stain and the lacquer would provide a hard finish to protect it. But with the wood rubbing against itself, the lacquer could make reassembly difficult and the extension of the legs would rub these parts against themselves. Does anyone have any ideas or can tell me if their wooden tripods have any sort of lacquer/shellac finishing? Thanks in advance.
You might want to look at an oil based finish. They'd offer some protection but don't build up a film. Tried and True is one of my favorite brands http://www.triedandtruewoodfinish.com/varnish.htm
Tung oil. Soaks into the wood, seals it, protects against moisture, looks and smells great. Use pure tung oil, not "Tung Oil Finish" or other crap.