But it took a LOT of work.
Lot's of wet sanding in stages of fine to very fine sand paper, all the way down to Scotch Brite pads, rubbing gently.
Then lot's of hand buffing with baby diapers.I sanded and polished my shells endlessly it seemed before I put any stain on them.
(Whatever you do, don't use a power sander or buffer. It will create a million little circles that will show up when you stain. I found this out the hard way. Do it by hand!)
I used oil based stain, I forget the brand, But I bought it at a hardware store.
I applied three coats, buffing with diapers between each coat.
The thing about maple is that there is naturally occuring oil in it, and it will absorb stains, and resist it in varying degrees.
You kind of have to defeat the blotchyness by making the surface as smooth as possible before applying stain.
At least that is what I found.
I recently did another keller shells kit using a light honey amber stain and found it much easier to get a consistant(blotchless) finish than I did with the dark stain.
I also made a snare drum for my aspiring son, and only used tung oil and carnuba wax. It looks great!
It's natural for maple.
It's a light colored wood.
Anyway, hope this helped.