I wouldn't try to sand the wood. It's a #2 grade, which with pine, you gets knots, some spots smooth, some a little rough. The stain is Sherwin Williams house brand, Woodscapes. It's an oil-based, somewhat thicker bodied stain than minwax. The basement was a premix color, golden oak. the shop was custom mixed, looks like a light butterscotch. I just wanted to lightly tint the wood to make it similar in tone. The bare wood had a range of color from white to pink. The varnish was from SW also. Satin finish, two coats. It's a quick dry, about 30 minutes to the touch. Pretty easy to use. T & G knotty pine is fun to work with. Pretty easy job if you are handy.