Very nice. I will 9 times out of 10 go with a rag or several rags. I tend to work the stain into the wood and wipe away as I go. Very seldom do I paint it on and wait some time and then take off the excess.
Try out a few methods on some scrap wood, also good idea to make sure the stain will react with your wood like what the sample in the store looked like. I have many times taken a sample of the wood with me to the paint store to try it out before buying.
Very nice design and workmanship. Did you follow a plan or is that your design? Taking orders?