In the first picture (with my daughter in the background) is what semi-gloss Watco lacquer looks like after it has been applied with a gun. The second picture is the same table after the lacquer has been polished. The technique is called "finishing the finish" and requires a sander fitted with progressive grits from 400 to 800, 1200 then 2000. I use mineral spirits as a lubricant and to keep the paper from loading up with lacquer dust. After the sand paper then polish with automotive rubbing compound red followed by white using a 9 inch buffing wheel. Finally a light coat of wax to keep it looking good.
Yes that is a lot of work but the results are fantastic.