I got my hands on an old maple butcher block table that was used as a shop bench for chainsaw maintenance. It's full character with scratches, burns, and probably 2 cycle oil and gas stains penetrated into it. I want to keep the character and the smooth feel of the maple, but want to stain it darker to mask some of the larger burns. I know maple doesn't stain well so am thinking about first putting on a coat of sand and sealer then adding a gel stain for a darker color. I would like that old hand rubbed look and feel instead of a thick poly finish. Any thoughts on how to finish this table which I plan on using as a dining room table?