Heywood Wakefield Butterfly table. Need recommendation to protect surface from food and drink. Top has been sanded.
You have two choices, the choice of which depends on your personal preference. The wood of your table is Northern Yellow Birch, which has a lovely warm color, so it’s important not to destroy that glow through inappropriate surface finishes.
Choice #1 is to apply good quality beeswax, here’s a link for one on Amazon: https://geni.us/xMQHkZs
Choice #2 is to use a water-based polyurethane, here’s a recommended one on Amazon: https://geni.us/uCUGKA
Choice 2 is more durable and resists water and heat marks. Also, being water-based, it dries clear and does not alter the tone of the underlying wood. It’s the more expensive option, but it’s the one I’d choose.
Choice 1 is environmentally friendly, water-resistant (but spills need to be wiped up quickly), is not toxic, offers great scratch protection, and looks superb. It will need reapplication annually, however. It can also be heat damaged from hot cups and bowls. It’s the cheaper, more natural option.