I use three different stains from Minwax; Red Chestnut 232 (2 coats), Red Mahogany 225, English Chestnut 233 and in that order. I'll try for a better lighted picture later to show the lovely red under tones. After this has dried I can apply a clear finish.
When I came back to this project I found that one of the side rails was slightly warped, I believe it was due to the cold dry winter air. As you can imagine, I was not happy. I managed to get the frame glued with minimal gaps that some wood filler took care of. It did call for more tedious sanding though.
In the process of cleaning up the excess glue. I used the glue sparingly but some always makes it's way out of the sides. If I was going to paint instead of stain I wouldn't have to be so thorough. More fine sanding in my immediate future. Upon close inspection I noticed that this piece shifted slightly about 3/16" when I clamped it. Nothing can be done about that now.