Well, as glamorous as I'm willing to go without the assistance of a boa and leopard-print fabric.
The level is sanded to 400 grit and has four thin coats of wipe-on polyurethane and two coats of dark paste wax.
Over time, the brass and cherry will darken (my preference).
One person asked in the last post what happens if the wood moves over time. How will I fix it so it's still level? I'll either lay a sheet of sandpaper on my table saw and rub the bottom of the level back and forth until it's flat again or I'll handplane the bottom.
Thanks to another commenter for this idea: you can check for level by laying it on your table saw, taking note of the position of the bubble, spinning the level 180º, and checking the location of the bubble again. If it's in the same place, your level is level.
The brass is not polished as smoothly as I'd like. I rubbed it with 220, 400, 1200, and 4,000 grit sandpaper and still there are scratches.
I asked an old college chum who now makes jewelry (and some very cool tags for dogs) how she achieves a mirror polish on metal.
She uses polishing papers, working through the entire set, then puts the jewelry in a tumbler. While I'm not planning to invest in the last item, I am going to try the paper. I don't know if it will also work on wood or not but I'll give it a try. The fact that the sheets are washable and reusable (and inexpensive) is pretty enticing.
Now....what to build next?