I've very happy with the results of my "Fancy X Farmhouse Table" project. I modified the dimensions to fit our space; this meant making the table thinner and re-sizing the "X's" proportionally. Also, for trimming the edges of the "X's", I came up with a combination of base board pieces at the end of the 2x4's. I hadn't used wood stain in over 20 years because I had gotten such blotchy results. This project reintroduced me to stain and I'm glad it did. Turns out, the secret is proper sanding AND the use of a "pre-stain" product that sets up the wood for good(even) absorption. Polyurethane was used as a sealant, while the base frame got white semi-gloss. Cheers, good luck on all your projects!