When I do table tops and shelves I use water based spar urethane, I start by mixing 1 quart of bullseye shellac (Wax or no Wax same result) with 3 parts denatured alcohol really soaking the wood let it dry over night. Sand with 150 grit to rough it up. Then I mix a little urethane 2 - 1 with water (1 part water) and brush it on heavy enough to soak in. This part is very important before 1 hour I brush or spray a coat of urethane (from the can not mixed with water) this way the urethane will bond with the thin coat which has soaked into the wood fibers then after a while but not more than 3 hours I scuff with 150 and recoat again, it is important to do this when the urethane is hard but not fully cured.Do not apply a lot of pressure to the surface when scuffing you should just be seeing white powder if it balls up on the sand paper wait a while longer. After applying as many coats as you need to make it smooth let it sit to cure over night. Now sand it smooth, now you can start the finish coats I use an HVLP Wagner sprayer from one of the big box stores and it works great, spray enough product on the surface for a good shiny look. If you get this done in the morning you should have time for a final coat the same afternoon for the final coat give it a heavy scuff with 150 when I do my final coat I like to start on the side away from me and work to me I then reverse sides and start from the far side again and work to me. The problem most people have with urethane is the base coat if that isn't applied correctly the urethane will peel, such as some of the newer cars ( it's not the paint it's the application) I have been doing wood kitchen counter tops with urethane for years and haven't had one peel yet. I did my first one more than 20 years ago and no peeling. I have been using and still use water based Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. I should make a video on the application. If your wood project has any chance of liquid contact I would recommend urethane. Some extra work but it lasts. I would not recommend it for cutting surfaces such as cutting boards. I coat my glue up table with urethane so as not to worry about clean up glue just peals off.
35 years ago when tools and fancy lumber wasn't an option. I had a home made table saw, and some hand planes, files and tons of ambition. Saw this piece in a magazine with a bic pen on top of it. I used the pen in the photo to scale it had some redwood fence boards and went to work. I asked my eldest daughter if she still had it, she said she had loaned it to a friend. After getting it back from her friend who beat the crap out of it in six months I got it back. Well here is my next project another restoration.
So now with no further bloviating I give you the tall dresser.