Sand the selected pieces of wood with a medium grit and follow up with fine-grit sandpaper. Make sure to sand with the grain. If it is a soft wood, you must prestain the wood to prevent blotching. For best results, this should also be done using a water-based stain.
The type of stain is often a choice of personal preference, although water-based stains tend to offer a wider variety of colors. First, test the stain on a concealed area of the wood or on a scrap. It is important that the scrap of wood used is the same wood species of your main piece. If the stain is satisfactory, apply it to the rest of your wood.
After the wood is stained, you must add a top coat with a clear protective finish. The finish protects wood against water, most household chemicals and natural wear-and-tear. You may remove brush marks and bubbles by handling the brush at a 45-degree-angle and gently running the brush over the length of your wood.