Sand away any rough areas or old paint and clear the sanding dust with a damp cloth.
When the wood is smooth, apply pre-stain conditioner to help the stain penetrate the wood more evenly. Allow 5-15 minutes for the conditioner to penetrate, then wipe the surface with a lint-free rag.
Stir the stain well (don’t shake the can). Pretest the color in a hidden spot.
Apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain using a natural bristle brush.
Allow stain to completely dry.
While wearing rubber gloves, use a lint-free rag to wipe in the direction of the wood grain, removing excess stain and blending the lighter/darker areas. For a darker color, repeat the application process.
Apply a thin coat of polyurethane topcoat in the direction of the wood grain.