An interesting article on 17/18th century finishes, it's 25 pages long so i have included a couple paragraphs on likely period finshes that cuts to the chase.http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base_images/zp/use_of_wax_finishes.pdf
American Finishing Techniques
Although oil polishing is not mentioned in the guide books until Roubo in 1774, it has long been
believed to have been one of the primary finishes used on Colonial American furniture. Linseed oil, the drying oil used in oil painting, was not available in large quantities and not often used in architectural painting prior to 1700.34 However, it was certainly available in quantities large enough to be used as a furniture finishing material. Oil and ground pigments were used to produce the decorative painting found on late seventeenth century furniture.35 Its use may have naturally extended to include transparent finished areas as well. This seems increasingly likely when one considers that few records have been found indicating that resins were being imported prior to 1700.
As early as 1640 Connecticut residents were directed to plant flax, the source of linseed oil36
and limited quantities of the oil were available late in the century.37 As the earliest records of linseed oil presses date from after the turn of the eighteenth century, it is likely that some of the early oil was being imported.38 Few cabinetmakers? account books from the first quarter of the eighteenth century have been found to verify its use by cabinetmakers; however, it was being sold by Boston japanner Nehemiah Partridge in 1713.39 Linseed oil appears frequently in the account books of cabinetmakers later in thecentury. A recipe for an oil varnish consisting of only linseed oil and pigment appears in the account books of cabinetmaker Isaac Byington.40