Hankdog1, I thought about putting a clearcoat (poly) on my boxes too. I know the bees probably would not mind the smell on the outside, but can you poly the inside for easy cleaning, perserving the wood, etc? Will it affect the bees/honey? I put poly inside a Miller-type top feeder I just made.
I would never put any kind of paint, varnish, etc. inside a hive. Bees don't like foreign smells like that.