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Hi, most stickmakers have tried all things and selecttheir own preferences. I tend to stick to Tru Oil (Tung Oil) as mentione by CV3 - this is a iol with a bit of added varnish for finishing gun stocks so ia designed for skin contact ie doesn't feel tacky when dry so use it on toppers / handles as well (unless they have a white paint finish). With ref to number of coats I predominantly leave bark on on shanks and because I make sticks for use and not Show I use only 3 to 5 thin coats of tru oil with no problems - show sticks are in a world of their own re finish.
 
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