How to Choose the Perfect Wood for Your Custom Table

oak table

Whether you want your custom wood table to be a focal point in your home or a functional piece for your family, it must be durable enough to withstand everyday use and damage. But how do you know which wood species will be best?

Hardwoods tend to have a higher Janka hardness rating than softwoods. It means they are more damage-resistant and can last longer than softwoods.


When building a custom table for a home, the type of wood used is an essential factor in ensuring the longevity and durability of the piece. There are several different hardwood types, each with its attributes. Hardwoods are generally more challenging than softwoods and can withstand years of regular use. They can also stand up better to stains and cleaning products than softwoods.

The type of grain or visual texture of the wood can also make a difference. Some hardwoods have a smooth texture with closed pores, while others have a gnarled or crooked pattern. It can make it easier to clean the surface of a wooden table but can also cause food or liquids to become lodged in the grains, damaging the finish and possibly the wood itself.

Many types of hardwood are available, and the price can vary depending on the wood used and its hardness or beauty. Pine and fir are some of the least expensive woods, while mahogany, oak, cherry, and maple are among the more expensive options.

Maple is a popular choice for custom tables because it is incredibly durable and can withstand wear and tear. It can also take a variety of stain colors and offers a sleek look for a modern style. The type of grain on a maple is very consistent, which can help ensure that the surface of your table will be even and beautiful.


The type of wood used is essential when making a wood table. It can make a difference in how durable the table is, how easy it is to clean and maintain, and what it looks like. Choosing the suitable wood species will also affect how much the table costs.

Softwoods are easier to work with than hardwoods because they are lighter, have a more golden grain pattern, and often bend more easily. They are usually less expensive than hardwoods as well. Common types of softwoods include pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and yew.

Hardwoods have a higher density than softwoods and can be much more demanding. The Janka hardness scale measures the force it takes to embed a steel ball to half its diameter. The more complicated the wood, the more durable it is. Common types of hardwoods include walnut, cherry, and mahogany.

Hardwoods are commonly used in commercial tables because they are more resistant to years of wear and tear than softwoods. They are also a bit more expensive.

Red Oak

Natural hardwoods are the way to go regarding wood table tops. They are heavier and more durable than softwoods, such as pine, and they also tend to have a greater degree of color variation and grain pattern. There are many different types of hardwoods to choose from, so it’s essential to take some time to decide which one is the best fit for your home.

Red oak is a prevalent species of wood that can be used for wood tables. This species is heavy and reasonably durable, with a hardness rating of 1200-1300 on the Janka scale. One of the things that sets red oak apart from other species is its texture, which is coarse and uneven. It also has wavy lines in the grain that give it an overall wild look.

White oak is similar to red oak in its weight and durability but has a more uniform color and a less wild grain pattern. Like red oak, it has a high Janka hardness rating and responds well to steam-bending and staining.

Maple is a trendy type of wood for table tops. It has a tight, even grain and a light coloration that lends itself to modern, transitional, or traditional decor styles. There are several types of maple to choose from, including hard and soft maple, so it’s vital to decide which is the right fit for you.

White Oak

The type of wood you choose for your custom table will significantly impact how well the table holds up and looks. Some types of wood have a pronounced grain pattern, others don’t. Also, some have pores, and others don’t. Choosing the suitable wood species will help ensure your custom table lasts generations and stands up to everyday use’s rigors.

White Oak is a medium-density hardwood with a tight, deep grain and distinctive horizontal ‘tiger stripes,’ known for giving furniture its classic beauty. This beautiful grain results from the quarter-sawn milling process, which takes a log and saws a quarter turn each time. It creates a very dense, fine-grained wood with an exceptionally smooth surface that accepts most stains and finishes beautifully. This type of wood has a higher Janka hardness rating than Red Oak, which makes it more durable and resistant to denting.

Cherry wood has a close-grained texture with a uniform look that can take on a more formal, traditional style or even a rustic country chic appearance with the right stain color. The wood is naturally reddish-brown and absorbs light-to-dark stains very well.

Pine is a slightly softer, lighter wood that’s incredibly hard-wearing and easy to stain to achieve your perfect color. It’s an excellent choice for anyone looking for something a little different, and it’s a great eco-friendly option since pine is often reclaimed wood.


Maple is a complex, strong wood that looks stunning in its natural state or stained. It’s a popular choice for wood baseball bats and is used in high-end furniture and flooring.

Maple wood has a closed grain, meaning it doesn’t have any open pores that would allow crumbs or liquids to be lodged inside the wood, which is a good thing since this makes maintenance easier. It also changes color over time, turning from off-white or cream to a light honey-gold with age.

It’s easy to work with, machined well, and takes a finish beautifully. It’s an excellent option for those who want a more modern, sleek style, but it can also be dressed with a darker stain to add more traditional character. Maple wood has various figure patterns, like curling, bird’s-eye, and ripple.

All wood is susceptible to damage and dents over time, but it will last for years when you take care of your table correctly. The type of wood you choose will impact how long it will last, with hardwoods being more durable than softwoods. Selecting the timber for your table will help you achieve the look you’re going for and ensure that it lasts for many years. The key is to balance form and function; if you prioritize durability over appearance, you’ll need a more durable material like pine.


When choosing the suitable wood for your table, you must consider grain, durability, and cost. Durability is determined by the Janka hardness scale, which measures how much force it takes to embed a steel ball into the wood to half its diameter. Hardwoods have a higher Janka rating than softwoods, making them more durable.

Wood grain can make or break your custom wood table look. Some wood species have a smooth and defined grain, while others have crooked or gnarled grains with uneven fibers and knots. Additionally, a wood grain can have closed or open pores, which impact its maintenance. Closed-grain woods like maple and walnut have tiny pores that prevent food, crumbs, and liquids from lodging on the table’s surface, making it easier to maintain and clean.

Red oak is a favorite among furniture builders due to its homey color and open grain that accepts stains well. This wood also has a high Janka rating and is an excellent choice for people who want to create a traditional farmhouse-style table. White oak resembles red oak but has a less noticeable figure and a lighter color. Maple is another popular option for a custom wood table because of its unique and stunning grain pattern. It is also durable wood with a beautiful finish and an impressive Janka rating.


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About Marc Wallace

I'm never too busy to share my passion. I've created this page to help people learn more about business, finance and real estate. Besides all the serious stuff, I'm also a man that values family and healthy relationships. I hope you find my content insightful.

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