This is a picture of the final product. It looks identical to the initial shoe rack, except it's smoother and shinier.
1) Stripped (second lesson: buy the right scraping tools for the job)
2) Stripped again (third lesson: don't strip furniture when it gets dark outside because you might miss spots)
4) Stained twice, and we had to wait between coats
5) Finished. Twice. And at this point we still haven't applied the last layer. We have to wait 72 hours, sand it, and then apply the last layer of finish.
Before we finished the chair, we had to go to the hardware store to buy a different kind of finish (fourth lesson: buy an oil-based finish if you have an oil-based stain). While we were there, we also realized that you can buy a product which is a stain AND a finish, which would have made the entire process quicker (fifth lesson). But we did find a finish for the chair that you spray on, which was a great find.
We learned a lot this past weekend, and were also surprised by all of the waiting that was required between the steps. Here's a picture of the (almost) final product, and a quick slideshow of the process is below that.