WOW this was our first build. We had some money to get started so went and bought new miter saw and sander, kreg jig, basically everything we needed to build it. Tools aside we spend only about $100 on the lumber to build the coffee table and 2 side tables.
Eric cut notches in the X instead of using 2 separate pieces for the other side, so they fit together like a puzzle piece. it was a learning experience of trial and error, but he got better and better each time.
For the finish i used the tutorial of dissolving steel wool in vinegar and then added a coat of strong coffee which made an ugly green-gray color. I happened to have picked up a can of "autumn" wood stain that when applied made the color pop and look amazing. (thank goodness because i was so frustrated and wanted to give up) when we do this again (cuz i just sold the set we made) i will be better at sanding everything nice and smooth, and do staining/painting of the Xs and the top separately before putting everything together.
I dont recommend the steel wool and vinegar stain, it smelled terrible and was hard to apply because it was watery and ran a lot plus you cant see the color develop for a long time so its hard to see what was wet and what wasn't. yuk. The Minwax "gray" stain they just released would most likely work a lot better. those small can of stains for $6 are big enough for all 3 pieces we built so really i don't think i saved money buying the steel wool and vinegar.
Anyway this was way fun! Cant wait to build again :)