How to choose wood for a table?


Recommended Posts

I am building a combination coffee table, standing desk, and gaming table with my dad. We are in the process of selecting wood for the table top, which will be 36x80".  The bottom is a Jarvis standing desk frame. Do you have any suggestions for specific woods or resources where I can learn about different types of wood? I'm looking for something durable that will be a darker color when finished/stained. Price is not too much of a concern. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may want to consider grain pattern in addition to color. Some people want a wood piece with very simple, straight grain, and others want to highlight knots, twists, and "figure" in the grain.

For domestic hardwoods, which tend to strike a good balance between quality and price, some good options are Cherry and Walnut as previously suggested. Other options are white Oak and Ash.

Walnut wood will start dark and gradually lighten to medium dark brown. 

Cherry will start lighter and gradually darken to a medium dark brown, though probably still a bit lighter than Walnut

Ash will start light and gradually darken to light to moderate brown. 

Oak and Ash can each be stained to achieve a darker color.

Avoid woods which are particularly soft, like most pines and poplar, as they will dent easily. 

You could also look at more exotic woods. These tend to be more expensive and super durable (which can make working them a bit more difficult), but you can sometimes find some colors and grain patterns that are unrivaled in their beauty.

I suggest you visit a local hardwood distributor, explain your project and have them show you around. They can likely help you compute a rough estimate of the amount of wood (measured in board feet) that you'll need, and from that, they can help you price your project in different wood options. To give you an idea, At my local hardwood seller, I can get some domestic woods for about $2.50 per board foot, while some exotics go for well over $25 per board foot. So it is worth going through the exercise to price out your project in a couple different woods. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I always start by asking is this to be light or dark.  The answer to that question usually eliminates about 1/2 the options.  From there, I consider the use.  If it's going to see a bunch of abuse, then I consider harder material on the Janka scale.  By now, I'm down to a reasonable number of species to look at and usually make my final decision based on aesthetics, cost, and workability.  From there, I make a trip to the hardwood dealer and try to grain match my boards to give me the best look I can get.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

My vote would go toward walnut or cherry. 

Have you already purchased the base? If not, have you seen one in person? At my office, we have several commercially made adjustable height desks with what appear to be the same base. I am singularly unimpressed at their stability. Even at the lowest height, they wobble like crazy.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

My vote would go toward walnut or cherry. 

Have you already purchased the base? If not, have you seen one in person? At my office, we have several commercially made adjustable height desks with what appear to be the same base. I am singularly unimpressed at their stability. Even at the lowest height, they wobble like crazy.

I have purchased the based. I did my research and the Jarvis standing desk base consistently had the best ratings, well above and beyond other standing desk bases. Do you know what brand and model those standing desks are? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, wdwerker said:

I have seen other brands of adjustable bases that have cross bracing between the legs.  Some of those bases can be adjusted to different widths for longer work surfaces. The wider the base is set the more it will wiggle. 

The Jarvis base I purchased stretches up to 74" in width and supports up to 350lbs. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Dementedpenguin said:

I have purchased the based. I did my research and the Jarvis standing desk base consistently had the best ratings, well above and beyond other standing desk bases. Do you know what brand and model those standing desks are? 

I'll try to check the brand tomorrow. There isn't one in MY office. Several of these at work are L- shaped corner desk, and even those wobble. I think it is the lead screw used in the elevation mechanism. My desk is fixed-height, but has a similar cantelevered base, but is rock steady.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

How about quarter sawn white oak? The forest is plentiful with big oaks, required for quarter sawn. It has the least shrinkage of the above mentioned. Please correct me if Im wrong...Very stable. The rays when properly sawn can be quite beautiful. Sometimes called tiger oak. A cosmetic affect. Typically used in mission style furniture. 

or

A live edge walnut, bookmatched.Sap on both live edges. At least 2" thick...Big money

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   1 Member, 0 Anonymous, 135 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    29320
    Total Topics
    397350
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22100
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    Eryl Flynn
    Newest Member
    Eryl Flynn
    Joined