Please see an update for my go-to finish now. Found here.
For a more traditional look, and especially for those in medieval/LARP groups that want a more “correct” finish, I’ll use a blend of linseed oil and beeswax. The finish is wonderful and warm, but does require a more gentle care than the poly finish. It cannot go in extremely hot water as it’ll melt out. It will also need to be reapplied every so often depending on the amount of use the item receives.
Modern Urethane Style Wood Finish
For a lower maintenance finish, I’ll typically put three coats of a low-sheen polyurethane finish. This will not wear off through normal use, is considered food-safe once it cures (about three days or so after the last coat goes on) and still can pass most medieval societies “ten foot rule”.