From the pallet style coat rack plans we saw from Ana and what she did for Ryobi Nation. Real simple to follow. I just change measurements to fit my space and other modificaitons because I didn't have quite enough 2x lumber. I saw the railroad spike hook idea on Pinterest and had a metal worker down my road cut them and thread them for me. I am very happy with it. I found a water-based stain (I HATE the clean up for oil based stuff) in a color called Aged Leather.
No topcoat on this project.
Just two coats of stain wiped down with a cloth. I use a staining sponge for all my staining work now as they are cheap, quick and easy.