When I received the box I didn’t assemble it right away. I painted the wheel with 2 stylized mandalas, a different one on each side. The rest of the wood I left natural although now I wish I had clear coated the wood. Assembly of the spinning wheel took only about an hour. The wood is a laminated hardwood and it has withstood several household moves and being taken to special events without so much as a scratch. I sanded around the corners because they were very sharp. The ball bearings in the wheel mechanism have always worked incredibly smooth. I only recently have replaced the flyer brake and drive band. Even if you don’t know what those terms mean, in short, I have spun a lot and done very little maintenance on it.
Overall, if you are looking for an entry-level wheel that won’t break the bank I would highly recommend the Louet S17 because of ease of treadling and maintenance, as well as sheer sturdiness. It might not be the most traditional looking wheel, but it will spin many yards of yarn and just keep going.