If I remember correctly, (it was a while since i was in construction too) staining works best with a brush in one direction. Put on a generous amount, not enough might cause variation with the finish (thin lines might appear if you over lap with more stain than you used) by the same token, don't go over bored or the project will get messy. The wood will only soak in so much of the stain (like a rag and water unless you have sham-wow
) i think the stain should soak in for 10 minutes, maybe more maybe less, i cant remember but the bottle would have directions. Anywho, after the stain soaks in enough, wipe off excess stain to prevent uneven colouring and let it dry! Hope this helps!