I really want to call this project done... [LONG and RAMBLING]

...but it really looks like s***. SWMBO purchases a lampshade that she likes - rather art deco but square but still more deco than anything else and not really to my taste - and asks me to make a floor lamp out of it. Okey - what do you want it to look like? "Ummmmmmm," she pondered, "make it look like the Chrysler building." [Note: this is a compression of multiple discussions for purposes of brevity but the end result is the same.]
Well, you take a picture of the Chrysler building and put a lamp shade on top. Think about it. Say no more. So through the tactic of a few months of delay, I managed to make her want it so bad that she was willing to let me try to give her the art deco thing she was looking for while not turning our home into a cheesy paean to NYC architecture. A couple more weeks and the design is complete, with the design of the base suggesting the stalk of a flower and the design of the shade suggesting the petals of the flower. You would have to see it to fully understand (e-mail and I will send pix to the truly bored) but I think I did a decent job of it (and even incorporated some design ideas from the Chrysler building).
Construction (I used birch, thinking it would be easiest to bring to the color of the shade)complete, the height is correct, and it is time to stain it. The shade was made in China and has some orangish finish on it - kinda dulls the grain like too many layers of flat varnish. Perhaps shellac? The guy at my local supply place tried to give me Cherry gel stain (luckily, I had the shade with me) which I had tried already and found too red so I took a little can of antique maple or some such. Try it out, it looks good. Close enough for trying to match some weird Chinese shellac. Start to apply and dammit! the birch has some spots that are rejecting the stain, almost like I got wax on it or something. Okay, some small spots and a run where glue hadn't been wiped enough but the real deal was a large area on adjacent sides of the base that just wouldn't take the stain.
Now here I am, with a crappy finish and the project from hell has never been further from completion (or at least that's how it feels). It looks depressingly bad. I really don't care anymore if you can see the grain, and I don't care if the color is mismatched between the shade and the base. All I want is a consistent color.
Can I, could I, would it work, given that I don't care about the color match and the grain on the base, just keep laying on that poly with color? I know I am some kind of monster for thinking it but I don't see any other option. I sure the hell ain't gonna strip it down to bare.
Will this work or does someone have a better idea? Spray paint and kindling are out.
Please, oh please, end my suffering!
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spraypaint and kindling? Oh wait never mind.
laying Poly shades on for that much will leave you with paint (if I' m interpreting you correctly). Another option it to lay down a thinned layer (rub on, 60/40 mix) of poly (shellac might work too) and then go over it with another coat of stain. This may give you more control over your coloring and allow you to even the color. I was able to play with one of my projects that way. I was able to give it a sort of antiqued look with dark edges and lighter centers.
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