Quilted maple is a beautiful wood that has a definite grain. You can easily identify quilted maple by the grain's curvy nature. This is one specific type of wood that most people do not want to cover with a dark stain, which ends up hiding the grain. Woodworkers want to use quilted maple because it is a hardwood. It is good for building many sturdy pieces of furniture. It is also often used for building the body's of musical instruments such as guitars.
Prepare the wood by sanding all the surfaces really well. Start with a 100-grit sandpaper and go over all the wood. Follow the grain of the wood while sanding.
Wipe off the wood between sanding with a damp rag to remove all traces of sawdust, which could leave marks in the wood.
Sand again using a 220-grit sandpaper until the wood is completely smooth. Rub your hand lightly across the surface of the wood to check for rough spots. Wipe off the wood again with a damp rag.
Apply polyurethane with a soft bristle brush. Move the brush in one direction only. Go from one side of the wood to the other in one smooth motion. Cover the wood completely with very thin coats.
Allow the polyurethane to dry thoroughly. Check the manufacturer's suggestions for drying times.
Use a 320-grit sandpaper to very lightly sand the polyurethane and help the next coat of finish adhere properly. Wipe off with a damp rag before applying a second coat of polyurethane.
Add as many coats of polyurethane as desired. Make sure to sand and wipe off between each coat. Keep in mind that extra coats will produce a very shiny finish and good protection of the wood.