I need to pre finish the fronts of the puzzleboxes before I glue them together because otherwise there are moving parts that get in the way. I have been having fun going back and forth from the Brushing Lacquer to the Gel Topcoat finish and seeing the difference in application and luster. I've only applied a single coat of both finishes to all seventy fronts and the gloss or luster is pretty much exactly the same between the two. There is a difference in the feel and you can tell the lacquer finish because of the filled pores of the wood giving it a smoother surface.
I expect the lacquer to have quite a bit more sheen in comparison after a second coat. I honestly don't know what finish I prefer and probably won't be able to make up my mind until I finish the boxes and start carrying one in my pocket.
Seen below are the backs of the Saifu boxes which I added cross grained spines to in order to prevent warping and such as the boxes ship to various climates. I know that it's not exactly ideal as a true plywood hardwood would be much more stable but I'm hoping if I keep the fit lose the boxes will never have issues. It was about one extra day total to put these splines in 140 Saifu parts but I feel much safer now despite all the extra processing.
I'm sorry for a long overdue and quite brief update on the puzzles but I hope to post more progress at the end of this week.