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Repair and finishing a box - finish Questions

Joe in a Cleveland suburb
A friend asked me to do some repairs to this dog show tack box.
It needs a lot of work. For the most part it appears to have been constructed using pocket screws so disassembly and repairs should be easy.

My question is mostly about finishing it. My thoughts are, after the repairs and a good cleaning with maybe TSP or just mineral spirits, is to do the following-
1- light scuff sand all surfaces
2- apply a coat of shellac (Zinser Seal Coat)
3- apply a coat or two or what ever it takes of some sort of Gel varnish to try and color/tone the wood to a consistent color somewhat close to what it is now.
4- apply (brush on) a poly of some sort.
Does that sound reasonable?

The reason I am thinking a gel varnish is because there are pieces that need to be completely replaced including the 1/4" oak plywood top and with the gel varnish, if the wood is sealed first with shellac, I should be able to tone the entire thing to about the same color. At least I've read you can do that. I don't have a way to spray a toner on it.

This box belongs to a person that is a big name in the show dog world and it is going to be auctioned off to raise money for a special event.

Thanks for any advice.

#1 Back of box. All the brass looking hinges need to be replaced. Aluminum angle stock is applied around the top.

#2 Back lid rail is split. Needs to be replaced. Somebody drove screws into each end to hold it together. Don't think I can hide those screw holes.

#3 Front of box. All the aluminum looking hardware needs to be replaced.

#4 1/4" plywood top needs to be replaced.

#5 This image has nothing to do with the box. It's showing my new hydraulic table saw off feed table :)

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