The best "3D" effect with maple seems to come from "toasting" it with the old school acid solutions, but thin, spirit based stain like Fiebings leather dye does a good job too and because it doesn't soak in very deep, you can go back and fix it before you put the finish on. As for the comment about it being soft, that is likely because you are getting one of the softer maple species. IIRC, really curly wood is not that common anyway, but more rare in the hard "rock" maple.
very nice maple for sure. Now u are making me want to order another handle from u. I am running out of knives to handle, might have to buy some....
Thanks guys, I will order it and keep you in the loop when it comes back from stabilizing. It is a softer West Coast maple, so stabilizing seems to be best although I have seen stunning pictures of guitar bodies from maple like this that were (acid?) treated to take on a brown tone. this won't likely be back before March/April, but I will offer a few nice curly ones pretty soon - need to recover from the last spending binge a bit...
The acid treated stuff looks soo nice
When I get to my squirrel flinter I'll be after some wicked curly stuff, but that is in a decade or so