If you want to do something like the faux inlay in the last post your self, you will need patience. Measuring and layout with an assistant took the larger part of a day. We planned our sequence and then applied frog tape accordingly.
It took some testing and practice to get just the right amount of sticky to be able to create a clean line, but then be able to remove the tape and not end up with a ghost in the next layer of stain.
We used Old Masters gel stain. From Texas Paint and Wallpaper. The gels provide just the right amount of control and offer excellent color.
Between colors we had to let it dry and then reposition the tape for the next round of colors.
I was very happy to be leaving the top coat to the professionals.