The bulk heads are ribbon Mahogany, perhaps, ribbon Sapela, an African Mahogany. As far as the finish, the panels had lacquer on them the best I could tell when I got them. I sanded them down and ended up using Captains Spar Varnish 1015 on them. I tried Captains interior varnish 975. It was dead flat, beautiful, elegant, but I choose to go the way I did. I would use the 975 on my furniture, gladly. It laid down sweet without much effort. I am no expert with varnish. With the 1015 I fight air bubbles even when I stir slowly and quietly. I sanded between coats. I am not trying to get a piano finish and could not even if I was. Anyway I will post a pic of what the varnish looks like on solid wood.