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Bob, this is largely a matter of personal choice. I tend to use water based varnishes only on rare occasions. Whether you use an oil or water base product it will provide surface protection for the table. I will usually use an oil base product because I happen to prefer the look that it gives vs that of a water based product. Oil base poly is the varnish that I largely use. It adds a nice amber color to the wood as it ages giving it a "warm" appearance. It does have an odor that some woodworkers find disagreeable and it will persist for quite a while but the odor really does not bother me. In fact, I don't mind the smell at all.

Water base poly has virtually no odor and will produce a nearly colorless topcoat. It tends give the wood a bluish cast that I find to be rather "cold" in appearance and somewhat unnatural.

But I would suggest that you try both products on a piece of scrap and decide for yourself which one you would rather use on your table.

One note I would add is that irrespective of which product you go with make sure you apply it to all surfaces of the table. If you neglect to seal the underside of the table the wood will cup over time due to the difference in moisture penetration between the two sides.
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