I prefer to use native species that can be sourced locally. My most commonly used woods are walnut, cherry, black ash and maple. I choose all my wood personally and ensure that each panel I make has the best figure and balance that can be achieved.
My finish of choice for most woods is Danish oil. It is a traditional woodworking finish that provides a hard wearing, water resistant satin finish. On darker woods it really brings out the beauty of the grain.
On lighter woods I prefer water based polyurethane as it does not darken the wood.
My preferred choice is to use Greyhound which surprises a lot of people. I have found them to be cost effective and reliable. The down sides are that you will have to pick the item up from the nearest depot and that they cannot guarantee a delivery date but it is normally between 7-10 days.
Home delivery is available via either UPS or Fedex but there is an extra cost incurred.