Hey Steve, didn't we have a difference of opinion on this earlier? Wasn't I just the perfect jerk?
OK, here's my take on this. Oak doesn't need to be conditioned for stain. The only woods that need conditioner are those that have "punks" in them. These would be Birch, Pine, Poplar, Fir and maybe Maple. Oak will stain very evenly, even on the end grain, without a sealer.
When I stain any of the other woods mentioned. I use the conditioner, wiping the excess off and then I apply minwax stain over the wet conditioner with a sponge, brushing out any excess with a china bristle brush. I don't wipe off the excess with minwax, it will soak in just fine as long as it isn't puddled anywhere.
Wiping stains, like Zar and Minwax Gelstain or Bartley's, are not penetrating stains and have to be wiped off. Personally I dislike these stains, unless I'm trying to duplicate a really dark color. In that case, regular minwax isn't opaque enough.
Sorry for leading you down a differnt path. Try using the conditioner on pine, it does work well, really. It will make the stain lighter, so sometimes you have to apply two coats. I recently did a project duplicating a color on pine and had to do a first coat of polyurethane that had some of the stain added to it to darken the wood enough.
I do intend to try your trick with the sanding sealer on my next wood staining project. It should be a learning expirence.