Beautify. Many years ago, people discovered that wood looked better with the addition of color (stain). the earliest stains were made from natural or vegetable ingredients. Modern times have produced a wide range of colors dispersed in solvent or water base to stain wood. In addition to color the wood beauty will be enhanced with a protective coating that brings out the depth and grain. A simple analogy: a stone immersed in water shows it’s colors beautifully yet remains dull when dry. Protect. A finish is designed to protect against normal wear and tear, i.e. scratches, spills, heat, etc. The most common finishes used by wood workers are lacquers, shellacs, varnishes, urethanes, polyesters, acrylics and synthetics.