Wood stain can be applied many different ways, depending on what you are staining and how big or small the project is. Below is a list of common types of staining jobs and how to tackle them.
How To Stain Trim
Apply stain with a brush. Trim is usually beveled, which means that staining with a pad or rag will not get into all of the crevices. Allow the stain to set on the wood for a few minutes and wipe off with a rag.
How To Stain a Wood Floor
Since floors are probably the biggest staining job you will do, you should use a larger applicator. I recommend using a lambs wool applicator. The applicator can be screwed onto any size extension pole to make the job even easier. Applicators are typically made in different sizes, generally 8", 10" and 12". The lambs wool pad can be discarded and replaced with a refill.
How To Stain Furniture
Depending on what type of furniture you are staining, you can use either a brush or rag to apply the stain. On flat surfaces, I like to use a rag to apply the stain. I can achieve the look I want more quickly this way. Generally when you use a brush first you must then use a rag to smooth out the bristle lines. Using a rag or old t-shirt will create a smooth finish the first time. If you furniture has nooks and crannies you should apply the stain with a brush, then use a rag to level the stain.
Wood Staining Tips
Use a china bristle brush if you are applying oil based stains.
Use a nylon / polyester blend brush if you are applying water based stains.
If one coat of stain does not give the depth of color you desire, read the manufacturer's directions to see when you can reapply another coat.
If you notice little bumps in the wood after you have applied a stain you may have raised the wood grain by applying the stain (this usually happens with water based stains). Simply sand the wood down with 220 grit sandpaper.