6 Best Woods For a Desktop and a Buying Guide

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Crafting desks may seem like a simple woodworking project, but it’s not as easy as you’d think. Besides the actual construction process, did you know that your desk’s quality heavily leans on the type of wood you’re going to use? So if you’re wondering which is the best wood to consider, here’s a list we curated to help you make informed wood shopping decisions.   

6 Types of Wood To Use For Your Desktop

#1: Maple

With the exquisite color, graining, and density of Maple wood, it’s no wonder many woodworkers would prefer this material when tackling projects like desktops. Given its solid durability, our resident DIY experts don’t doubt that any furniture you made out of this hardwood will be hardwearing and withstand different conditions. 

#2: Birch

If you’re planning to stain your DIY desk to match the vibe of your home, it’s recommended to choose lighter-colored lumber like Birch. Birch is known for its dense composition, making it a popular choice among woodworkers for furniture projects.

Baltic Birch Plywood

#3: MDF

Although it’s often compared to plywood, Medium Density Fiberboard is actually more solid and delivers a higher density level. We would advise keeping the MDF desktops at 20mm thickness for added durability if you plan to use this material. 

#4: Walnut

Using walnut for furniture can be tricky because it continually changes color as it ages [1]. However, the grain on its surface remains uniform even as time passes. If you look closely, it has a slightly open grain and straight pattern that gives the piece a remarkably classic aesthetic suited for different interior designs. 

walnut wood

#5: Oak

When you shop for oak material, you’ll bump into two varieties; red oak and white oak. The major difference between the two is their colors, where red oak is darker and white oak is lighter. When stained, both wood pieces absorb the application quite nicely.

#6: Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood isn’t a bad option if you want to go for a rustic wooden desk aesthetic. While some call it ‘scrap wood’ from old barns and factories, our resident woodworkers assure you that they’re harder than most freshly cut lumber. 

Also Read: List of Lumber Terminologies

A Guide in Choosing a Desktop Wood

Hardness and Density

When selecting the best wood for a desktop or even natural wood for home use, we highly recommend going for hardwood. It may sound like generic advice, but this type of lumber has fewer chances of decaying than woods with softer density. Plus, they’re more suited to cater to long wear and tear usability.

Color and Texture

The main nemesis of good wood color and texture is the way the lumber changes. You can take Walnut woods as an example. These options tend to fade lighter in color, but the pattern and texture it creates over time are beyond attractive. 

Oak wood

Depending on the aesthetic you’re looking for, we urge you to check how the wood grain changes over time. If you want our expert opinion, it’s best to go for ones that have uniform graining. 

Checking the Moisture Content of the Wood

Most casual DIYers don’t know this, but it’s crucial to check the moisture content of the wood. These factors highly affect the changes in size and shape of the lumber. To test it out, you can simply weigh it and dry it out to see the difference it makes depending on harsh conditions. 

Making Your DIY Desktop

Securing the Joint

For the desktop to be tough and strong, any wise woodworker would secure the wood joints. With these features on the construction, you can avoid producing a wobbly table. Our team recommends using binders, adhesives, or fasteners. 

Through Dovetail Joint

Finishing the Wood

Adding an extra layer of protection like a finishing beeswax isn’t bad when dealing with wood materials, which is why finishes are a big deal for home furniture experts. You decide whether to apply a clear coat, wood stain, or different paint colors to your desk, just as long as it fits the look you’re going for.

Products to check: 


How thick should a wood desktop be?

A wood desktop should be at least 19mm thick. The thickness of your desk should increase or decrease according to the purpose of the furniture and available space. With thicker wood, you can be reassured that the desk can remain sturdy and withstand different conditions and circumstances. 

Also Read: How to Elevate Your Desk’s Height


Not all wood serves the same purpose, so you have to be especially careful when picking one to construct a desk. Never underestimate the wood selection process, as this could make or break your entire construction. Ultimately, the best wood for a desktop is the kind of lumber that matches the requirements of your project. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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