I am not satisfied with the stained finish I get on maple. I use a sealer (very dilute shellac) to eliminate blotchiness, but then it is very difficult to get any decent penetration of the stain that follows.
I have read in the past a simple method of making one's own pre-staining solution but can no longer find the receipt. Seems like it consisted something like a 20% linceed oil an d mineral spirits. Anybody know of this??