I'll vote for oil based ,or solvent based like Minwax . It doesn't raise the grain , and seems to go on more evenly than a water based stain , brush it on , and then use a rag like an old tee shirt to wipe off the excess . Let it sit overnight , then 2 coats of oil based polyurethane and you're good to go . Only thing is you have to work outside , or in a well ventilated area because of the odor .
If you want good results , avoid the stain/poly like the plague . It's just pigmented polyurethane ... doesn't bring out the grain at all .
Last edited by someoldguy; 05-17-2014 at 01:16 AM.
Reason: train of thought got derailed