What would you finish a dining table with?

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What would you finish a dining table with?

Because of the children, my wife is demanding a new dining table to replace our hip-height table. I'm anticipating a lot of messes and abuse. I'm not sure what kind of wood I'll use, but it'll be reasonably priced.

I also checked some reviews at this site. But what would you use to safeguard it from years of wear and tear?

Icefish

Stain and poly is probably going to be more durable than paint or at least clear poly, several layers. 

 

I redid our dining room table years ago, took a lot of sanding, stripper did no good, and although it came out nice, you can still see where some of the old stain was on the table. 

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