Instead of dropping out of sight after receiving your kind advice, I thought I would post a couple pics of the table I'm working on.
I think "rustic farmhouse style" was the appropriate choice for my beginner skill set! I can now say "no, it was supposed to look like that - it's rustic!"
The first two pics are just after I put on the conditioner. I conditioned the bottom and stained it and even with conditioner it carries a wide range of stain absorption and color. The ends have a M&T which I did using 1/4 - 1/2 - 1/4 as the ratio - seems that versus 1/3x3 is a lively topic. Nice first world problem to have...
I did a single joint which is about 26" wide and overcut by about a 1/2". Its 2-1/2" deep. I read varying opinions about depth and just flipped a coin at the end of the day.
That wood - re-claimed from a turn of the century warehouse - is bone dry. Makes for wicked slivers.
About time to go down and put on the stain...
the picture is after I took it out of the steamer...didn't bend in the middle like I was hoping. Newbie mistake...
Thanks for all the advice both posted and archived. You guys have created a great resource!