Finishing / sanding sealer question


I am building a computer desk out of red oak boards, 1/4", and 3/4" red oak plywood. I am thinking about staining it with golden oak stain. Should I stain it first and then apply a sanding sealer, or the other way a round? I plan on using Varithane stain and poly with a lite sanding in between each coating of poly. I was thinking about putting on 4 coats of poly. I have no knowledge about how to do a good job of finishing and would appreciate your advice. Thanks.
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sand stain then seal . maker sure the sealer is compatable woth the stain . laquer sealer does not go well with oil stains ...
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Dave wrote:

Get Bob Flexner's book on finishing
You MUST stain before sealing or the stain won't "take"! Carefully sand the sealer so as not to sand away any of the stain. If you use a dye instead of stain, you can get away with sanding through the sealer a little bit, because dye sinks into the wood better.
Try thinning the poly and wipe it on for better results than brushing. Make sure the temp and humidity is in the range listed on the can. lightly sand (220-320) between coats.
Dave
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