The same color stain on the same piece of wood could produce significantly different colors. Here is a little tip that will help you control the stain color. One of the factors is the sanding process. Stain soaks into the wood to darken the natural color of the wood. The more stain absorbed by the wood the darker the stain. A way to control absorption is to change the grit of the sandpaper you use prior to the application of the stain. The larger the number grit on the sand paper the finer finish you will get. A very fine finish means very tight surface that will not absorb as much stain as a surface that is somewhat rougher or more porous. Test the stain. If you would like to lighten it up just a bit get a good smooth finish with a very fine grit sandpaper. Conversely if you would like it to be a little darker lower the grit a step or two. Apply at least 3 coats of polyurethane (sanded between coats) and you will have the smooth finish you are looking for.