I got all 6 panels and the seam strip done with amber shellac..
2 coats each applied with a 4" Purdy brush and they came out great.
2 things contributed to this process going well..
First, I found my orbital sander. It has been in the bottom box of my tool chest for years, unused.
Today was its day.. That, hooked up to the shop vac made quick and easy work of getting the bare panels nice and smooth and ready for finishing.
Secondly, the Purdy brush. Normally I don't pay $15 for a paintbrush but this was worth every penny.
Very smooth and glossy finish without paintbrush streaks.
Here's a few pictures, but trust me, the pictures do no justice to how cool the birch looks now.
Lots of 'figuring' that catches the light..
Tomorrow I'll try to get a few of these panels installed :)