i bought a desk from ikea a year ago when i moved in. i bought stain around the same time. two days ago i finally started to makeover my desk.
clearly, its a bit clutterd. i bought the table specifically because the wood was untreated. it was a cheap way to get a nice, long, big desk perfect for the wall it is going to sit at.
i used minwax wood finish (from home depot) in dark walnut (2716). using an old rag, rub on the stain going with the grain. wiping excess stain as you go. you will be surprised how little stain you actually need. i used only one coat. the wood absorbed it to the shade i desired. you can reapply for a darker color.
the stain needs about 15 minutes to dry thoroughly (but check the can). i next used deft clear wood finish in gloss. i did two coats waiting two hours in between the first and second. the second coat i applied a bit more liberally. it is also helpful to sand in between coats to get rid of any graininess to the touch. i did not sand until after the second coat and it was still shiny and wonderful.
the wood looks rich and lovely. i could not be happier and am kind of obsessed with sitting at my desk ( the new iMac helps too). i think it will also inspire me to keep my desk less cluttered!!!