I used a lower grade of walnut, lots of knots and sapwood to deal with. I built this for my DIL's birthday coming up on the 21st. I had just enough walnut left over from a xmas gift to build this table, but had to use some very light sapwood in the top. I stained the table with a 30 minute fast dry stain from ML Campbell to even the color out. Semigloss lacquer. Plan is from a Rodale book of 100 projects of country furniture I had got free with a WW subscription years ago.