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help me with my wood

I tried using a stain and it comes out very muddy and looks like a shitty paint job instead of stain. It is not clear and covers all the grain. Someone suggested using adding paint thinner (mineral spirits?) which I have not tried yet. Someone else suggested using a mixture of coffee, vinegar and letting steel wool sit it for a little while (i actually tried the steel wool and vinegar, no coffee and it was very grey but it did stain the wood) what do you guys think? It is a rough saw pine so it has a lot of texture. I was thinking that could be part of the issue too

also the xmas stuff is gone cuz its not xmas any more.

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