5 Best Types of Wood for Table Top

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Making or buying a table may seem simple, a tabletop mounted on four legs. However, a table is often the focal point of a dining room, and the kind of wood you use has a significant impact on the look and feel of the table. Apart from choosing a particular style of furniture that will match your taste and home decor, the wood itself is also a key decision.

The type of wood you choose is the most crucial consideration when making a table. While rustic pine is excellent for a budget table, high-end tables are usually Walnut, Cherry, or other fruit trees. These types of wood have a nicer grain and dark tones that give the table a premium look, finish well, and are hard, durable woods for tables that will last.

Best Types of Wood for Making Tables

Cherry Wood 

Cherry wood flooring board - seamless texture

Cherry wood occupies a prominent place in most homes in America. Being widely available and robust and durable wood, it finds use in various types of furniture.

As formal dining room furniture, cherry wood leads the list of preferred woods. It darkens to a warm hue over time, further increasing its popularity. The grain of cherry wood comes out nicely with the right type of stain. Hence, you don’t have to bother with maintaining tablecloths, and a tablecloth would only hide the natural beauty of the wood.

Because of its rich color and grain, Cherrywood is a good choice for formal dining rooms.

Salient Features Of Cherry Wood

  • Appearance: Reddish-Brown
  • Durability: Susceptible to dents and scratches with rough use
  • Hardness: 950 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.38-0.56 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with, glues well, and easily takes screws and nails.
  • Cost: Moderately expensive to quite expensive

Walnut Wood  

walnut wood grain

You get rich, creamy-white to dark chocolaty color from the grain of walnut wood. It makes an excellent choice for a contemporary-looking dining table, and a walnut dining table will take center stage in your dining space.

Due to its variance in color, you can easily add matching furniture to complement such a table. Because of walnut’s inherent hardness, it is a very durable wood, and it can look good for years of heavy use. However, you need to be prepared to spend a tidy sum on any walnut furniture.

Walnut is a good choice if you want to make a contemporary dining table.

Salient Features Of Walnut

  • Appearance: Creamy white to a chocolaty brown
  • Durability: Medium-dense, susceptible to denting and scratching
  • Hardness: 1,010 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 1,010 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with but prone to planer tearout
  • Cost: Expensive to highly-expensive

Hickory Wood 

Solid American Hickory wood texture background in filled frame f

If you are looking for a rustic look, then a hickory table is a perfect choice. Using hickory, you can have a rustic-looking dining room table at home or a picnic table in a lodge in the woods. The reddish and cream hues that you get from the hickory is worth the extra money you pay (as it doesn’t come cheap).

Wood with a medium grain, hickory imparts an earthy, rustic look to a tabletop. It also has high durability, but it is prone to warping and cracking in humid conditions due to its high density.

Salient Features Of Hickory

  • Appearance: Light brown with dark brown overtones
  • Durability: Strong wood but prone to warping and cracking in high humidity
  • Hardness: 1820 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.83 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with but prone to tearout. Glues well and takes stain readily.
  • Cost: Expensive, but not as expensive as oak or walnut


Pine table
Pine table (Image: Paris on Ponce & Le Maison Rouge)

You can get pinewood in almost all the regions of the US. It doesn’t come under any endangered category, and it is one of the cheapest options in wood for tables. The light wood has a pleasant-looking grain, but watch out for knots. If handled properly, the knots in pinewood can enhance its look. It takes polish well but also looks smart on its own.

Pinewood is very easy to work on and takes nails and screws easily. It also exudes a pleasant, resinous fragrance that adds to the charm of this versatile wood. Due to its reasonable cost but good looks, you can get an elegant table much cheaper than tables made of other costlier wood.

Salient Features Of Pinewood

  • Appearance: Light Brown, with resinous knots
  • Durability: good
  • Hardness: 380 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.42-0.67 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with. Takes nails and screws well, and it is easy to glue together.
  • Cost: Cheap

Hard Maple 

The smooth, light grain of hard maple opens some exciting possibilities for designing contemporary furniture. You can make a trendy coffee table to go with your ultra-modern furnishings to create the soothing ambiance that only maple wood can achieve.

Although a highly light-grained wood, maple enjoys being among the hardest domestic varieties of wood in America. This makes it highly durable, so you get wood that looks good but lasts longer as well. Hard maple is easy to work with but tends to burn with high-speed cutters like routers.

Salient Features Of Hard Maple

  • Appearance: Creamy-white to a light brown or dark golden brown. Straight grain with a beautiful texture.
  • Durability: Extremely durable
  • Hardness: 1,450 (Janka hardness)
  • Density: 0.6-0.75 (103 Kg/M3)
  • Workability: Easy to work with
  • Cost: Expensive, but moderately-priced compared to other hardwoods

Things To Consider When Making A Table

Wooden dining table (Image: Free-Photos)

Whether you have a dining table, coffee table, or kitchen table, you want to use robust and good-quality wood. Apart from quality, the tabletop should also be appealing to the eye. For instance, hardwoods like cherry and walnut make excellent tabletops thanks to their accentuated grain and vibrant color.

The choice of wood and its finish and color also plays a significant role in the décor of a table’s surroundings. For example, if your living room has heavy oak paneling, you can use a coffee table with a similar tabletop.

If you have modernistic décor in your dining area, your dining table should match accordingly. For a worktable, you don’t need to worry about aesthetics, but the construction should be solid and extremely strong wood.

You can create masterpieces with a good design, wood type, and a suitable finish. Hence, let’s get right into some of the best examples of wood for making tables, shall we?


Depending on the purpose that your table will serve and where you will place it, you need to build it accordingly, and the type of wood you use is one of the key decisions, if not the most important one you’ll need to make. Budget and personal taste will play a significant role in addition to the final use – you’ll need to consider the size, expanse it will cover, and then load it will need to bear – all of these as well as the style of the room, will help narrow down the best kind of wood to use.

Featured Image by LynnePike