About This Project
This was my first project. I learned a ton through the process. Ana's directions were very easy and straightforward.
I purchased the wood (Doug-Fir) from Lowe's and cut it at home with a circular saw. I filled the gaps in the table/benches with a crystal clear silicon caulk - I have mixed feelings about this, since it dried kind of shiny. The coats of polyurethane helped to dull the finish a bit. For the stain, I used Rustoleum Kona, and Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane Semi-Gloss for the finish.
Like others have suggested, I built the benches first, then the table. This was a great tip, since you can learn the design on a smaller model before tackling the beast of table (it's heavy). I also added some horizontal supports on the ends of the tables/benches, not in the original plans. I just duplicated the end aprons of the table and countersinked/screwed them in at an angle.
Cutting and building the project didn't take nearly as much time as the sanding, staining and finishing. The back-end part of the project was very detail-oriented and stretched out over several days.
Overall, very pleased with the finished project. It was very empowering to know that I can build something like this. Thanks Ana and all of the others with their tips and suggestions! My wife and I know have a long list of other projects to tackle :)