The type of wood is one of the most important points when making a table. First, the type of wood you choose for your table will determine the lifespan of the furniture.
Poor wooden tables only last a few years, usually up to five years. However, if you select the best wood for your table, you can rest assured that your beautiful furniture will last for decades.
3 factors to consider when choosing wood for your table
While you have an almost unlimited number of options to select from when it comes to the type of wood you use for your dining room table, there are three key things you should focus on with almost everything else to help you find the right wood for your home.
1. Should you choose a softwood table-top or a hardwood table-top?
Whether you are buying or building a kitchen table, dining table, or even a restaurant table, the first thing to consider is the type of solid wood table tops you want: softwood or hardwood.
Hardwoods such as oak, walnut, or mahogany are better choices for countertops than softwoods.
They have a denser grain structure and are more resilient, which helps them survive the use (and abuse) that kitchen and formal dining room sets endure.
On average, hardwood performs much better on the Janka hardness test, making it more durable. Of course, there are exceptions: yew is a soft wood, but it has a high Janka hardness index.
2. Style: Are you looking for a traditional or modern countertop?
Another important factor is the style you are going to use. Most woods can be used for many types of tables and designs, but some lend themselves to certain styles.
For example, walnut looks amazing in a mid-century modern design, but not as well in a traditional or rustic style. Alternatively, solid maple or oak can be used for both rustic-style tables and more modern designs.
Think carefully about the natural beauty of the wood you’re using, and you’ll have a good idea of what style it’s best for. It really depends on how the wood is used and how it is processed.
3. Wooden tables are more durable (and require less maintenance)
As a general rule, you want your dining table to be as sturdy and stable as possible. No, you don’t necessarily need a restaurant table that can seat hundreds of people 24/7, but you do need one that can withstand everyday use, especially if you have a lot of guests or young children.
As we mentioned above, the type of wood you choose for your wooden workbench makes a big difference in the hardness and stability of that piece of furniture. The denser grain pattern ensures a more flexible and durable work surface, while the opener woods are more prone to dents, dings, and scratches.
If you are building your own table, another aspect to consider is that the wood must be workable. Very hard formal dining room sets can make your job much more difficult!
How to choose the best wood for countertops
Let’s start with the key considerations when choosing wood for any wood furniture project. You should pay attention to the following:
Hard and soft woodwork table
Wooden tables can be made from softwood or hardwood. The difference is in the degree of Janka hardness (the hardness of wood is measured on the Janka scale).
Softwoods are hard enough to be used on any type of hardwood tabletop, from a dining table to a kitchen table. However, they underperform on the Yankee scale.
The hardest softwoods, such as spruce, only score around 660 on Janka, while softer woods such as pine only score around 400.
Hardwoods, on the other hand, typically score over 1,000 on the Yankee scale, with some four times harder than the softest woods.
Types and styles, for example, traditional vs. contemporary
Finally, you should also consider the type and style of the table you want. First, consider what type of table you are creating. Is it a solid wood dining table, coffee table, or kitchen table? Are you making a dining table or a console table? Different types of tables work best with different types of wood. Second, consider style.
For example, if you’re building a dining table, you might want to go for a rustic, rustic look to add a rugged, vintage-inspired look to your dining room.
Alternatively, you may want a pedestal dining table with a sturdy base in the middle.
Different styles may work best with certain types of wood. For example, you can’t make a farm table out of soft wood like pine. Instead, you need some of the best hardwoods with darker shades.
11 best types of wood for the table
Now that we know the important things to consider when choosing wood for formal dining room furniture, let’s explore some of the best types of wood for a table.
1. Red oak
Quarter-sawn oak is one of the most popular choices for solid wood countertops. Woodworkers and customers alike love wood for its versatility and exceptional strength.
Even standard oak tables look warm and rich. They illuminate the room well with good lighting and add a sophisticated and contemporary feel to any room. And if, for example, you order flowers to decorate the table, the table will look more exquisite and rich.
However, oaks come in many species. So we especially recommend red oak. Red oak has a beautiful reddish-orange color with white to light brown spruce wood.
It also has a perfectly beautiful grain pattern that easily absorbs stains to give a darker color to the finished dining table. Most importantly, it is a durable hardwood. However, be aware that your red oak table will be a bit heavy. Therefore, it is the best option for furniture that you do not intend to move often, such as furniture dining tables.
- Warm and traditional appearance
- High density for exceptional strength
- More available
- More affordable
- Limited color selection
2. Maple Brown
Maple is one of the hardest native hardwoods. Maple has a hardness of 1450 on the famous Yankee hardness scale, making it harder than oak (1290) and many other hardwoods.
Therefore, solid maple makes for durable furniture that can last for decades. It is the best wood for a dining table and coffee table. For hard maple varieties, we recommend brown maple.
Smooth maple brown with a light grain. Color is creamy white to light brown, although some may appear dark golden brown. The straight pattern of the fibers gives it a nice texture.
All hard maple species are easy to work with, which may seem surprising given their hardness. Brown maple, in particular, catches fire easily with high-speed cuts such as drills. You can also finish the table with a maple stain of your choice.
- Outstanding durability
- Beautiful grain pattern
- It can be done easily
- Outstanding durability
- A bit expensive
3. Cherry wood
Cherry is another excellent choice for wood, especially for traditional and formal tables. It’s actually common in the United States. If you come across reddish-brown furniture in the US, it’s probably cherry wood type.
This popularity is due to the availability of cherry trees. Cherry wood is also a reliable type of wood, but it doesn’t cost as much as similar alternatives. The rustic cherry tree is particularly recommended.
Country cherry wood is available in white, brown, and dark red. A less refined take on the traditional cherry wood, it is easily recognized by its wide knots, cavities, satin texture, and unique grain pattern.
This is a great option for a rustic style. The only downside is that country cherry is not as strong as other hardwoods. Its hardness is 950 on the Yankee scale, making it one of the softest hardwoods.
- Stunning reddish brown
- It is easy to process and adheres well
- Fine smooth texture
- Sufficiently durable wood
- It is prone to dents and cracks
- Very expensive
Poplar is one of the most commonly used timbers for contemporary furniture in the United States. It has a distinctive white wood type that is sometimes striped. Meanwhile, the heartwood is usually brown, but can also be brown to yellow in color. Even some first have dark green and blue wood.
Spruce wood has a finely-grained design with an even texture. Wooden boards are light, although older boards can be quite heavy. It has a medium density, so it is well-finished and glued. Let’s just say it’s easy to work with.
All types of furniture are made from spruce, including restaurant tables, wooden bed frames, and even dining sets. The tables and desks are very durable and remain nice and flat.
- It can be done easily
- Excellent complementary properties
- Incredible flexural strength
- Available in a variety of colors
- No unique grain patterns
5. Whitened quarter-sawn oak
If you’re not a fan of red, check out white oak. White oak is slightly different from red oak. Interestingly, it is slightly darker than red oak and has more beige and brown undertones. Meanwhile, red oak has more salmon and pink undertones.
However, white oak has a varied texture that is also more uniform. For this reason, it does not pick up many stains. This quality allows white oak furniture to retain its natural color even after staining, while red oak tends to darken.
We particularly recommend quarter-sawn white oak. White oak, quarter-sawn, extremely hard, up to 1360 Janka, resistant to dents and scratches. Note, however, that white oak also costs more.
- Outstanding durability
- Easy Coloring
- Smoother grains
- Better with lighter spots
- More expensive than white oak
Pine is one of the most popular solid woods in the United States, and with good reason. First, it’s easily accessible. Few lumberyards will be missing a few pine pieces at any given time.
Secondly, the pine is not threatened with extinction. So, millers can cut them without any worries.
First, pine is a soft wood, so it’s easy to work with. It is also applicable in a variety of situations.
You can create beautiful pine restaurant tables, durable dining tables, and gorgeous writing desks for contemporary furniture.
A branch of pine wood is particularly suitable for restaurant tables. It gives the restaurant table an elegant look that easily complements the decor. The pleasant resinous fragrance also adds to the charm.
- Cheaper than most hardwoods
- It is a lightweight wood that can be easily screwed together with nails and screws
- Good for polishing
- Great for DIYers
- Not too strong (380 Janka)
- Only medium strength
7. Walnut wood is the best wood for dining tables
Walnut wood is the best choice for many woodworking projects. They even make wooden tableware from it, from spoons to bowls, etc. However, it’s more popular with woodworkers and shoppers looking for a modern, contemporary style.
It’s a unique combination of durability, feel, and golden sheen that most people can’t resist. Walnut wood is characterized by a creamy white to dark chocolate color.
It’s not as hard as oak. However, the 1010 Janka is still tough enough to withstand dents, scratches, and other accidental damage.
The only downside is that walnuts are very expensive. High demand for walnut trees and low supply means you pay for tables made of walnut trees.
- It has a beautiful golden shimmer
- Perfect for modern furniture
- Resistant to dents and scratches
- The best wood for the dining room table
- The beautiful and unique seed pattern
- A bit expensive
8. Hickory wood
If you’re obsessed with getting a hardwood table but aren’t a fan of the above options, consider the hack.
In fact, many people consider it the best wood for dining tables, as the durable grain creates an eye-catching look that reflects the concept of an expensive vacation.
Hickory wood comes in a variety of shades, ranging from red to cream. It has an open-grain pattern that gives it an earthy feel. However, the grain provides a glossy finish for a bright finish.
Contrasting wood grain stripes are suitable for many situations, both in the private and commercial sectors. But the most important thing about hickory is its hardness.
- Attractive light to dark brown color
- It’s surprisingly easy to use
- Super durable
- Prone to breakage
- It is prone to warping and cracking
One of the most durable hardwoods for furniture, oak is typically used to make kitchen cabinets. Many rustic wooden tables are made from red oak, which is a slightly orange color and has an open texture.
Oak has a very open grain, which means it has a lot of texture. No matter how hard you sand oak, it’s difficult to get a smooth finish due to its grainy texture. For this reason, it is often necessary to first fill the grain when varnishing oak cabinets.
White oak is another common hardwood species, but don’t let the name fool you. White oak is actually darker in color than red oak and still has red and orange undertones.
Ash trees are medium to large trees that grow in most parts of the world.
Ashwood is smooth to the touch. It is durable, strong, and flexible.
It has an excellent nail, screw holding, and adhesive properties. Carpenters, therefore, like to work with ash wood. However, it produces a distinct and moderately unpleasant odor during processing.
- Color – light creamy brown.
- Density – tough, flexible.
- Grain – open grain with occasional brown streaks.
- Common applications – floors, millwork, boxes/crates, baseball bats, and other turned objects such as tool handles.
- Finishing – takes all finishes.
11.Yew (European Yew)
The yew tree is native to Western, Central, and Southern Europe. Yew wood is very strong and durable. However, the best wood comes from trees that grow in mountainous areas. In addition, it has high elasticity. Therefore, it can easily bend, roll back and stay permanent. It is also resistant to most insect attacks.
- Color – the heartwood is orange-brown to dark brown or purple. Spruce wood is usually a thin strip of pale yellow or light brown.
- Density – soft, flexible, and relatively heavy.
- Grain – smooth, with a fine and even texture.
- General Use – archery (archery), upholstery, carpentry, furniture, carving, and musical instruments.
- Finish – the finish is good, but should be sealed with water or oil-based polyurethane.
What is the strongest wood for a table?
Cherry, walnut, hickory, and soft maple (brown maple) are among the best options. But solid maple is also a worthwhile option.
What is the best material to make a table out of?
Solid wood tabletop. Solid wood table tops furniture is very popular in many homes and has been considered one of the best table materials for centuries.
How thick should my wood be for a table?
The wood tabletop should be at least 1 inch or 1.5 inches thick for maximum stability and to prevent warping in high humidity.
What is the strongest type of wood for furniture?
Teak is one of the hardest and most durable natural woods. Resistant to rot, sunlight, rain, frost, and snow, it is suitable for exterior construction and furniture making. However, it is expensive and sometimes difficult to find. Color: The heartwood is golden to medium brown, darkening with age.
Which furniture wood is the cheapest?
Pine is the cheapest wood species for making furniture, as it is abundant in almost every region of the United States.
What is the most expensive wood for furniture?
Certain woods like Robinia and Mahogany are expensive. Mahogany is often used for musical instruments because of the sound frequency needed to absorb the wood.
Is pine too soft for a table?
While pine is typically less expensive, it’s still hard-wearing and durable, making it a great choice for a dining table. Because of its light color, pine is also an excellent wood species to stain, making it easy to achieve your desired color to match your interior.
What are most dining room tables made of?
They are usually made of hardwood, softwood, or composite wood. Solid wood options available: mahogany, oak, maple, walnut, etc. are best for dining table tops. One of the advantages of using wood type is that it can be sanded and refinished over the years.
Whether you want to build your own dining table or have it custom-made, finding the right wood for your dining table is vital as it will be the most used piece of furniture in your home. It should be a high-quality and durable piece of wood that can withstand heavy use.