Your stand looks great! I think your choice of stain was a good one. The stain is definately not over powering at all.
The wood conditioner is used so that the stain is soaked into the wood evenly. It basically fills the wood pores to some degree so that the stain is not soaked in as deeply. When you use birch, it isn't really necesary since birch doesn't have large pores that soak in the stain too deep.
What are you going to use for a top coat? Polyurethane?