I am currently installing cherry picture frame paneling in our former dining room, which we've converted into a billiards room (who REALLY ever uses their dining room anymore anyway?).
I just finished 12 4x8 1/4" cherry plywood panels with 2 coats of Polycrylic over a coat of Minwax water-based sanding sealer, and the results are simply incredible. The Polycrylic has been a joy to apply, brushed out very nicely to a completely even finish, and left NO brush marks at all. It dried very quickly, and I was able to apply the next coat in a couple of hours. A quick sand with 220 is all that's needed before the next coat.
In the past, I've always used 2 coats of dewaxed shellac, then two coats of nitrocellulose brushing lacquer - but I am now a believer in the Minwax water-based products. Shellac and lacquer are much more difficult to apply, and they produce no better results than Polycrylic. In fact, I think I actually like the look of the Polycrylic on cherry better than lacquer - and it produces NO FUMES AT ALL (lacquer fumes will literally knock you out). It doesn't even need to be rubbed out like I have always done with the lacquer.
For my future cherry projects - or any projects - Minwax Polycrylic will be my go-to finish! I'm very impressed and quite pleased with the results.
Pictures are of the finished panels glued on the walls. The “picture frame” trim will be next. It will be 5/4” solid cherry. Can't wait to see how it finishes with the Polycrylic!