Thanks for the great comments on the first blog post guys!
Thought I would post a minor update after conditioning and staining. So the first entry was prior to sanding and pocket hole drilling. Since then I have drilled the pocket holes to hold the top and legs to skirt. Guess I need a better drill b/c on the last few I got a bit of tear out on the wood (seems like the drill was slowing down). Nothing that a little sanding wouldn’t cure.
After sanding I applied Minwax wood conditioner and as per Flexner’s recommendation, I left it overnight. I wasn’t sure whether or not to sand after (got conflicting answers online) so I used a 320 grit to rough it up a little prior to staining. Used Minwax red oak stain and wiped off the excess. As you can see, the top didn’t splotch, but both of the longer pine skirts exhibit some minor splotching :-( Think I should have went with a gel stain. Oh well, probably do some toning to even out the sides a bit. The poplar legs came out pretty well I think.
Gonna apply a second coat of stain today to parts, then probably do the toning over the weekend, finish next week.