I started sanding this weekend, and I need more sandpaper already!! I thought it would go a lot faster honestly - but you learn as you go. I'm not going to try to get down to bare wood, as the walnut satin is much darker than the old stain, and I think it will cover fine.
My "mouse" sander is working okay, I think a more professional orbital sander would cut my time down, but my equipment budget is going towards an electric staple gun.
(I also need to get a mask, cough, cough)