If I want some darkness to the low parts of the piece, I dip the piece into Golden Oak stain.
If I want natural, I dip the piece into brushing lacquer.
After dipping the pieces, hang them up to dry. I also dip the stained pieces into the lacquer after they dry a bit.
Often times I'll first dip a piece into a natural stain before dipping into the lacquer.
One word of caution! Make sure you have some ol' newspapers or paper towels under the dripping pieces.....