(I always thought maple was pretty soft. For example, the maple that I've cut and burned in my fireplace is lighter weight, softer, and burns quicker than some other woods such as oak. And I have a painted maple bedroom set that seems to chip and dent easliy. Oh well, I guess there's maple and then there's MAPLE.)
Good luck with your project, Alan.
Thanks for your comments.
Sorry none of us can give a good answer.
Take your question to the forums at www.woodmagazine.com
They have a forum dedicated to finishing issues and lots of experts hang out there.