I just finished small cabinet made of nice curly maple for my wife and she wants me to stain it. I picked up a bottle of Transtint dye stain that I am mixing with denatured alcohol. I'm trying the stain with scrap pieces of the curly maple to check the color. I found that when I apply the stain to wood that has not been sanded, I get a beautiful curly effect - it actually amplifies the curl for this case where I have not sanded the wood. In this case, I can still "feel" the curl on the wood's surface and the stain accents the low points. However, when I apply the stain to a piece of wood that has been sanded to match the cabinet (240 grit), the curl is not coming through very strongly. It seems to be attenuated (possibly) over the unstained case.
Any suggestions on how to stain curly maple and have the strong curly effect come through? Would it help to mix the Transtint with water instead of the "non-grain-raising" alcohol?