Yes, wiping Mineral spirits will open up the grain and you should be using a oil based stain. For water based use a damp cloth to open up the grain. I also use a prestain, helps stop the blotching look.In another discussion string we were talking about how maple does not take stain very well. I commented that on my current project, the maple barely accepted the fitst coat but the second coat soaked up much better. LB commented that the first coat opent up the grain. This made me wonder, if I rubbed down the entire piece with mineral spirits first, would that open up the grain? I feel like I waste a lot of stain on the first coat because I wipe most of it off. If I wipe on a coat of mineral spirits, wait a day or two and then stain, will I have any better results? What other techniques will help to open the grain?