So, you´ve decided on adding a wood tabletop to your office or home? Awesome! Now, let’s take a closer look at the species of wood that are available for this kind of use.
- Hard Maple: Hard maple wood is an affordable hardwood that’s both dense and sturdy, making it a popular choice for use in furniture and flooring. If you’re looking for a hardwood with little to no variation in texture or grain pattern, then hard maple is ideal. It also takes stain very well if you’re aiming for more of a modern look. Overall, Hard Maple is relatively easy to work with compared to other woods.
- Soft Maple: Compared to hard maple, soft maple is only about 25% softer and generally has a very similar appearance. The wood typically grows straight and the coloration falls in the light-to-dark reddish brown range like its harder counterpart. However, one notable difference is that soft maples have much darker pith flecks running throughout giving them a more unique look. Soft Maple’s ease of workability and ability to take any finish makes it popular among woodworkers for home projects.
- Red Oak: Red oak wood is a hard, sturdy type of lumber that has many uses and is very plentiful in the United States. The color can range from reddish-brown to light brown, depending on the board, and the grain is usually straight. One thing that sets red oak apart from other woods is its unique texture – due to open pores in the grain, it can take on different colors when stained. Red oak tends to be less expensive than other types of hardwood lumber, making it a good choice for anyone working with a budget. Don’t let the cheaper price fool you – you can still build high-quality furniture with red oak wood!
- White Oak: White oak is a versatile hardwood that can be used in furniture, flooring, and outdoor projects. It’s resistant to rot and decay, making it an ideal choice for an outdoor table top. White oak typically has more figure than red oak, with a light to medium brown color and straight grain. If you’re aiming for a lighter stain or finish, Whiteoak is a perfect choice. White oak is usually more expensive than red oak due to its weather-resistant properties but still is a relatively affordable hardwood.
- Cherry: Cherry wood makes for beautiful and strong furniture. It is an excellent choice for those who want a durable reddish-brown table top. Cherry is easy to care for thanks to its closed-grain texture, which also gives it a lovely silky appearance. You’ll find that the smooth grain of cherry wood resists scratches and staining very well.
- Walnut: Walnut is an expensive hardwood that can be found in solid wood tables. Its hardness and density make it ideal for furniture and cabinetry. The dark color and smooth grain give walnut a sophisticated look, making it a popular choice for mid-century modern furniture. Although walnut lumber is pricier than other types of wood, it lasts much longer if you protect it with a durable finish and choose a classic design.
- Pine: Pine wood is a type of softwood that is typically light in color and has a straight grain depending on the quality you purchase. It’s commonly used for construction, rustic furniture, or other DIY projects because it tends to be more affordable than most hardwoods. Even though pine is considered one of the easiest woods to work with, keep in mind that it dents and scratches very easily; not to mention, it splinters quite easily as well. You can use pine for your tabletop but know that over time, it might not hold up as well as hoped. With pine being a softwood means there’s always a risk of denting or scratching the surface–making any repair jobs down the line much harder (if not impossible)to fix properly. If you do choose to use pine wood for your table, I would recommend using an oil or wax finish. If you can afford it, hardwood lumber is a better option though.
Though it may seem challenging at first, choosing the best wood for a tabletop is all about evaluating your goals. If you’re more interested in aesthetics or budget over durability, there are plenty of options available to choose from. The key is to find what works best for you and enjoy the process of building your dining room table. I would recommend using hardwoods if possible, but if that’s not an option, try selecting a repairable finish that will last longer than average.
The benefits of a Wood Tabletop
Things to consider when buying a wood tabletop