Really clean and tasteful. Love it.
Pore-filling isn't strictly necessary, it just helps you get a smoother finish. It literally fills the deep pores in the oak with material so that there aren't pits in the surface anymore. It's not the same as pre-stain conditioner (which is usually used for blotch-prone species like Pine, Maple, or Cherry--and not too necessary on something that's already really stain-friendly like Red Oak).
If you're going to put a film finish, especially one with any gloss to it, on top of a porous species like Oak, pore-filling is almost a requirement to get a nice result. If you're using an "in the wood" finish like an oil or oil/varnish blend, I generally would not pore fill. There are plenty of ways to pore fill--Timbermate is good for really large-pored species like Oak. On finer-pored stuff, a thick coat of shellac sanded back works well. Or shellac + pumice, or even just wet-sanded BLO for fine-pored species like Cherry or Maple.
The sticking board is based on these plans: http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/AdjustableStickingBoard.html
Every once in a while a screw catches weak grain and ends up riving the workpiece. At some point I'm going to figure out how to replace the screws with some sort of adjustable wooden stop that can hold the end of the board more gently. Other than that, it's pretty awesome. I use it just about every time I make a box or drawer.