After we built the table, I started browsing for chairs--you know that part of the story already. The hard part was finding something that would go with the table, since the table is a custom piece. I really love the straight, simple lines of the table, and after seeing some country pieces with benches, I thought that'd be the way to go. We'd be able to build it out of oak just like the table and stain it to match. It took us a while to get the money and the time to do it, but on Father's day weekend, I gave the bench to Cody (well, the materials and a whole day to piddle around in the garage building a bench) as his Dad-day gift. He got the bench built that day, and we took it home to stain it. Cody purchased the stain, and we were both quite certain it was the same color... oh, why must we make such an obvious blunder? If you have a color you need to match up in the future, write it down! take a picture! do SOMETHING to be 100% certain you have the right color. Anyway, it ended up being very very red. The first coat it was quite pink--would it grow on us? nope. So we then thought maybe if we doubled the coat it would look better? nope. A few more days to grow on us? nope. What if we varnished it? nope. Finally we had no choice but to paint it black, which is what we did. After a couple more days of looking at it and using it, we added a final coat of varnish, and now I am totally and completely in love. My only regret is having to paint a beautiful solid oak bench. But it matches so well with the chairs and ties it all together--mmm. Yes, I couldn't be happier.