David - I get your hard boiled egg analogy. But aren't a lot of us bobbing around in eggs these days? Okume and cedar are both very soft and both are commonly sealed with epoxy in plywood and strip construction. True most of us do put some cloth in that coating layer to prevent the very problem you mentioned - bruises. I have some oak trim on a 12 year old skiff I built that I left as bare wood treated with 1/2 turps 1/2 linseed every now and then with furniture polish rubbed on after 24 hours - works well as protecterant but wood is much darker - but you can sand it down easy. a WHOLE lot easier than varnish IMO.