It is important to understand that color is a moving target. God makes cherry, for instance, in various reddish/yellowish colors. For reasons I don't understand, the wood color changes when exposed to light over time. As most wood darkens over time, I recommend lighter finishes. It is also important to understand a change in the direction of the wood grain usually results in an apparent light-to-dark change in color. A cherry sideboard at the end of your dining room may appear to be lighter or darker than the dining table extending the length of the room even though they both have the same finish.
All this leads up to the fact that our wood chips are of very limited value. These small pieces of wood hanging from a chain will give only an approximation of the color you should expect on your furniture. You can expect the furniture might be a little lighter in color that the chip when you first get it. Our chips and your furniture darken with age.
We use standard nitrocellulose finishes. These lacquers were developed during the mad scramble to synthesize natural materials, fuels, lubricants and explosives just prior to WWII. These new lacquers replaced shellac based finishes. There have been some improvements developed to increase chemical resistance and hardness. There are the catalyzed, epoxy or urethane finishes, and they are impervious to most household chemicals. Unfortunately, they are difficult to repair. We rarely use them.
The laquers we use are nearly colorless and are formulated for us in various sheens, Matte (3 Sheen), Low (10 Sheen), Medium (30 Sheen), and High (90 Sheen). The sheen numbers here indicate the percentage of light reflected after the lacquer has been rubbed. Lamp black or coal soot is 0 sheen because it reflects no light. A mirror is 99.9 sheen because it reflects nearly all light.
Please note that our sheen numbers may or may not be comparable to those of another manufacturer. We STRONGLY advise against high sheens or piano finishes as they are delicate and will show even the slightest scratch.