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Nice set of cabinets you made. Yes preconditioner on maple and birch is important to uniform staining.
the hard grain resists the stain the the soft grain soaks it right up. I did a maple cabinet once and I just sanded the hard grain with a little coarser paper and it leveled out pretty good. Then I wet sanded after several coats of finish and it felt pretty good
 

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Great looking and well made cabinets, very professional. The birch has some nice grains and the finish sets it off.
 
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