When I stained the front panel earlier, I did notice that one spot in particular was taking the stain differently from other sections. This spot was a heavily water damaged area, and despite being sanded down quite a bit, the water damage seemed to have permeated down below. Thus, this particular area took in the stain more heavily and finished with a much darker colour than the rest of the front panel. I was advised to lightly sand the problem area using a 220 or higher sandpaper, but almost on the first very, very light pass, the sanding revealed a completely different shade than other areas sanded during the finishing process. Fortunately, I always had a backup plan just in case of matters like this, so I'm just awaiting the delivery of some material that will help solve this aesthetic issue.
As you can see from the photo of the top, the finish otherwise came out well and is now completely sealed:
I also had some spare IKEA overhead lights that I installed inside. For now, the unit is playing temporary storage for our record collection, but ultimately that's not what it's going to be used for. I wish I could say more, but for now, plans are being kept secret (because I'm not sure if they'll work or not yet; I'm in talks with some outside help for advice about my pie in the sky plans). The project has gone from humble hopes to a long term investment, but I have to say every step of the way has been lots of fun.
Looks like my January Jumpstart is going to easily become a February Followup!