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I've never had a problem with birch. Maple is more difficult.

Condition the wood first. Or use a washcoat. Or start with a dye.

Use "professional" stains - that means don't use minwax. Application methods will determine the final result. Toning helps even out the colour, even if it at first appears blotchy. Follow the manufacturers directions if you want to try toning (i.e. don't try to intermix incompatible products, or blotching may be the least of your concerns).

Your cabinetmaker should know how to do this, or know someone who does.
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