I too was in your shoes with the wife and waiting a new dining room table once we moved into our new house. I never made any kind of furniture but always wanted to try. My wife too wanted the rustic look and the pictures below is what she got. The top is 3/4" walnut with 1-1/2" edge all knots and imperfections epoxied and sanded smooth.the base is 2-1/2" x3-1/2" poplar.Top was finished with Waterlox and the base is just satin lacquer. All the wood was bought for $110. It didn't turn out bad for never building any furniture.