Protecting painted baltic ply

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SimonStevensCanes

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I have made a dressing table with baltic birch ply and have painted the surfaces whilst leaving the end grain exposed. I intended to add some varnish (Ronseal Interior Varnish) for protection but when applying to a hidden area it left a lot of milky streaking which some research tells me is the matting agent.

Is this a suitable product, and can anybody give me some points to apply it without leaving milky streaks?
 
I've been researching finishes in general and have had trouble finding a resource that seems trustworthy, can anybody recommend a book/website/video that will give me a good starting point?
 
Do you mean you are varnishing over the painted faces to give it extra protection, is that where it looks milky?
 

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