Here's the point where it occurred to me that the wood needed to be stained and finished before I went any further with its assembly. I sanded the wood with #200 sandpaper on a rubber sanding block. Then I wiped it down with a rag soaked in Minwax 'Red Oak' stain and let it dry for about an hour. The shiny finish is courtesy of a spraycan of high-gloss spar (waterproof) polyurethane. The tabletop was sanded lightly (after drying) between each of the seven coats of polyurethane. This is the only way to achieve a deep gloss. Thick, heavy application of polyurethane promotes runs, air bubbles, and week-long drying times, but does nothing for the shine.
High gloss finish
High gloss finish, alternate view