Wood furniture surface treatment

I got some basic pine bedside tables recently and proceeded to use some Ronseal Interior/Exterior woodstain to try and get it to match other furniture we have and to protect it from water damage (the stain also has a varnish in it and can be used for external doors apparently). We're very pleased with the result - however, because it was a liquid stain it would run down to the lowest point and gather. This meant we had to keep brushing it around to get it to an amount which didn't run. The result is good and we're pleased. Because we didn't want to make the job bigger than we needed, we didn't sand it down afterwards and stuck with the single coat, so the wood is a little 'textured' (but not rough like when I've used varnish on pine before which has required frequent rubbing down between coats due to the raising and then setting of the grain). No problem with this result for our needs.
I've often wondered how furniture gets the surface treatment it does during manufacture. For example, flat pack wardrobe/drawers etc from MFI all have a nice coloured finish which when viewed on end-grain cutoffs (for little shelves in wardrobe) can see its soaked a good 1 or 2mm into the wood. These bits of wood are perfectly smooth without any of the 'texturing' I've got with ours.
This raises the question - how do they do large bulk colouring/finishing of pine which will penetrate well (not just a shallow/skin treatment) and also doesn't raise the grain? They can't be sanding everything down after treating can they? Wax? Surely waxing is a high labour thing - and this appears to be 100% uniform covering - no signs of differing colours or anything.
Thanks
David
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Most timber / furniture manufacturers dip the wood in the stain / varnish systems and then fast dry them in kilns, so the wood doesn't really get a chance to get dirty or scratched before the finish is properly cured. If you can afford a bath full of stain and the large kiln to put the timber in and dry it off, then I think you'll get a lot of local business from smaller furniture companies.
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David Hearn wrote in message ...

the wood so there is no delay on the production line, and actually very little penetration into the face of the timber (end grain is different). This gives the uniformity you expect from MFI and Ikea, but then there's a cottage industry trying to get away from the bland look on pine, either because they don't have the facilities, or their customers prefer a hand finish. Wax is the natural choice because, although very labour intensive, any fool can do it. Most manufacturers will tell you that making the furniture is the easy bit. Finishing it in area devoid of sawdust is the bugger.
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