Alright, so after you get the color where you like it is time let the stain dry for at least 24 hours (this helps it really soak in). After that it is time to apply the clear wood lacquer. I recommend that you do this in a wide open space outside, IT IS VERY TOXIC so be sure to wear a mask or take breaks often. I apply the lacquer in very light coats (according to what is on the can) and use up the whole can to make sure that I get a nice thick coat on there to help protect it. I then let it dry for at least 2 or 3 days, this help the lacquer to really harden and will help prevent it from dings and scratches. Once the lacquer is all dry simply put the table and chairs back together and you have a nice refurbished patio set, in my case for FREE!!!!
ps: I highly recommend keeping an eye on the free section of craigslist, I have found multiple pieces of free furniture that were in good shape, just the color was worn out so no one wanted it, but it is really simple to refurbish these pieces and have great new looking pieces of furniture!!!