Need advice on finishing kitchen cabinet doors

I am in the process of finishing my kitchen cabinet doors. They are flat and had a veneer which was cracking and in general disrepair. I went to a hardwood dealer and found a 1/8" birch plywood to serve as a veneer over each of the cabinet doors. The wood is very attractive and my wife and I like the light colored wood.
We would like to put something that will bring out the wood. I tried putting some semi-gloss polyurethane on some left over pieces of the wood. It looks ok, but not great. I would like some ideas as to some other options, if any, that I might try to maximize the beauty of this wood.
Thanks, Al Kondo
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Birch often does not take stain well , and stress grain parts can take stain and be ruined as it will look blotchy. Experiment on scrap. Just a clearcoat on birch is always nice. The wood will darken over time a bit. Water base Poly will darken it little, but Oil base Poly will darken-Amber-yellow it quite a bit over the years. Use gloss for the clearest hardest finish to show the grain.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.