Within a few weeks of my moving up to Canada (back in 2012) my in-laws found us a perfect little dining table and set of chairs. Someone had just left them on the side of the road so they were an Acquisition of Opportunity. The only catch was the table was missing its surface and a pair of pins that held the base together. Back then I'd built a new surface out of a couple pieces of pine shelving. I remember regretting that I couldn't use a solid sheet of wood but the shelving was what would fit in the car and apartment. I knew it wasn't going to be the best long term but it got the job done so it seemed a reasonable compromise.
Not unexpectedly there were a few problems that developed over time. Most notably the pine warped pretty noticeably and the joint between the two pieces was always catching bits of crud. So with the move I took the opportunity to replace the top of the table with something a bit more solid. Instead of laminated pine shelving I used 3/4" plywood with a maple veneer (a convenient cut-off from the Gaming Table). The original surface had a centerpiece that my wife had drawn up so I made sure to use the same design again (albeit larger and with a few small modifications).
The original surface was stained with Red Mahogany since for some reason I thought that would match the base pretty well. And it did a pretty good job on the original table but only because I wasn't mixing the stain well enough before applying it. This time the stain came out with a bit more of Mahogany's purpleness so it's not as good a match for the base. I'd liked to use some glue as a resist around the centerpiece but it was too late by the time the idea occurred to me.
I'd originally used Tung Oil to varnish the original surface which definitely influenced the color. That wasn't really an option with all the projects I was juggling this time around so I tried out Polyurethane for the first time (on wood anyway). On the up side I was able to ladle it in pretty thick to fill in the burned designs (they shouldn't collect nearly as much dust now). On the down side applying the polyurethane with a cloth left lots of streaks that I'm not particularly pleased with.
Otherwise the table's turned out pretty well. The dimensions are a bit different than the original table but it fits much nicer in our new kitchen.