from what i've read, there is no varnish, just polishing for hours and hours with a cloth...i'm going to have to wait to try this, but i am really intrigued...how "sturdy" are the balls when they're done, HyakuYenKnitter? have you ever tried the polishing bit?
there is just something so basic and beautiful about them!
To be fair I should have modified my post to say I start
making them all the time at work - by the time the first layer has got going usually one of the kids will nab it