I'm a novice furniture builder and felt I could tackle the Farmhouse Dining Room table and matching Farmhouse bench. With a lot of diligent detail work--especially sanding-my first two projects came out great. Because I was afraid to try the notching part of the plans, I decided to tweek the projects by attaching the stretcher boards with black cabinet screws. I achieved the rustic look I was looking for with both the table and bench!
I used a foam brush to apply the stain & immediately wiped off excess with a clean dry cloth as I was looking for a light oak color. I loved working with Rustoleum's polyurethane because there is no sanding required between coats. I used a good grade synthetic bristle brush to apply the polyurethane. Because I had never used a Kreg pocket hole jig (the $40 one)) before, I made sure to practice a lot before attempting. I also made sure each board was clamped down securely and used the fast speed on my Makita drill for doing the pocket holes. I used the slow speed setting when screwing in the pocket hole screws. I used the plans for the 84-inch long table and long bench and made sure to ask my husband for help with the circular saw. I also watched a lot of videos on how to use a circular saw safely. Both my husband's help and the videos assisted me in feeling more comfortable with the circular saw. The 2x8 boards were super heavy for me (I'm 5'5" and 62 years old) and once I had all the boards securely put together & the frame was attached, I needed help to turn the table upright. Most importantly, I worked slowly and carefully.