We printed out one of the table plans from Ana White and went to Home Depot to buy the wood. When we got there, we decided to simplify the project even further. Ian suggested just buying a 4x8 sheet of plywood and pre-made legs. This would mean less cutting and also make the legs removable for easy transport and storage.
The end result looked nice... but because we did not build in as much structure as the original plan, the table was a little wobbly. So we spent a long time making it less wobbly.
Finally it was late Sunday afternoon and Ian was about to go out of town so I quickly put on the first coat of stain while the table was in the dining room.
HUGE mistake. I used Polyshades (which is a stain and sealer in one). It was awful. It was very hard to get an even finish. And, an hour after Ian left, the table smelled so much that it gave me a headache to be anywhere in the house.
So Ben and I tried to carry the table outside. But only 2 of the legs were now removable and we could not maneuver the table out the door. And none of the neighbors were around. So, in desperation, I sealed off the living room with plastic, bought a fan to create a cross breeze, and had to go into and out of the dining room through a window for the week.
Lessons learned: Stick with the original plan. Research a product before you use it. Stain in the garage, NOT the house.
I still have to paint the legs... but the table worked beautifully a week later when we had 12 for dinner.