Bart is correct about the large pores. Before you start to put a finish on, try to get these pores filled first. I have played around with colors, but because of the light brown and dark brown striations, could never get a filler to suite me. What I finally did was use multiple coats of sanding sealer, light sanding between coats, to fill those pores. Once you have that out of the way, you can put your final finish on.
I try to stay away from the epoxy finish only because I think the CA finish ends up better, is easier to apply and there is way less work involved.
There are other finishes you can consider here. Shellack works very well and you can manipulate the gloss using steel wool. Lacquer works well also, but use the spray can with very light coats until you reach the depth you like. A standard Danish oil finish is nice too and also very easy to apply. And don't forget about the water base finishes. These take a little practice to get the final luster you want, but are really easy to use and cleanup is simple. When you are finished, put a coat of some nice furniture wax on top and polish to perfection.
If you need help with any finish you decide to use, let me know and I will try and give you some pointers along the way.