Thanks for the great suggestions/advice. I am leaning towards a more luddite type of finish to suit my luddite tendencies..."Tried and True" looks like it might get the nod.

Now, here's another wrinkle....

The older camera is sanded and ready to refinish. It has a beautiful warm colour. I intend to finish it with shellac without staining it beforehand. The colour looks just right as is.

The replica pieces are of course brand new and look like, well, brand new mahogany, relatively light in colour with a nice grain.

So the question is this: Stain? or no stain?

It is my understanding that in some circles, staining certain woods (cherry for instance) amounts to commiting a mortal sin.....not good for the Karma as it were.

Do I dare stain and thus risk damnation and/or returning in the next life as a dung beetle?

If I do stain, what do you suggest for colour and brand/type?

Cheers!