I have a good bit of experience in stains and varnishes. I come from a nautical background and have owned several wooden yachts. "floating furniture"
I do a seal coat of my own mixture of diluted varnish with mineral spirits and other secret ingredients and let it dry 24 hrs minimum. I am careful not to sand the raw wood too much as this opens the pores and makes the stain too dark on the first application. I use a foam brush and liberally apply the stain and immediately wipe off with a cotton shop towel and after it dries, I re-apply another coat till the desired wood tone is achieved.
After several days of drying, I usually apply a minimum of 3 coats of a good marine spar varnish. On my yachts I would usually stop at 6 or sometimes 10 coats. There is no need for that effort on indoor cabinetry however. I use a commercial grade stain from Sherwin Williams as it has more pigment and it really is more of a dye than a traditional stain.
Also the cabinet assembly on the bench is temporarily clamped together. It is actually in two sections.
Last edited by flyingvranch; 05-14-2017 at 06:51 PM.