What’s the best wood for desktop?

For me, there’s nothing better than a desk made of wood. From the beauty to the warmth, the strength to the workmanship; wood desktops speak to my soul in ways that other materials can’t match.

Not only does wood add character to your office space , but it also helps you work efficiently by providing a sturdy surface for writing, typing, or studying.

But what are the best types of wood for desks? Well, I’m glad you asked! Read on to find out the best wood for desktops.

Best Wood for Desk Top

Choosing the best wood for a desktop comes down to aesthetics, your budget, durability, and available tools. Nevertheless, the following nine options stand out.

1. Oak

Oak wood tops the list for the best woods for desktops, and for a good reason. First, it has great strength and is extremely durable. Second, Oak desks can last several decades.

Indeed, oak wood desks can last a lifetime with good maintenance. This partly explains why most desks in the high offices, including the Oval Office, are made from oak.

Additionally, oak is beautiful. The American white oak is especially a classic, boasting a gorgeous pale cream sapwood appearance that strikes from the off.

Alternatively, you can opt for European oak, which boats a classy golden to medium light brown appearance. Red oak is also immensely beautiful.

Beyond the natural appearance, oak wood has excellent finish qualities. This means that you can easily stain it to fit in any home or office setting.

We also love that oak works excellently. It takes screws, nails, and sawing very well, making DIY a breeze. Wood oak prices vary depending on the type of wood.

White oak is usually a bit more expensive than red oak. However, generally, oak is more affordable than comparably high-end woods.

What We Liked Most

  • Highly durable
  • It’s sturdy, high-density wood
  • Stunning natural grains
  • Easy to finish and stain
  • Extremely durable

What Could Be Improved

  • Heavy, thus difficult to move
  • Shrinks and cracks under poor maintenance

2. Walnut

Walnut is another extremely beautiful desktop wood. It comes in a natural creamy brown to chocolate brown color, with characteristic natural grain that adds a classic look to the walnut wood.

However, the dark color tends to become lighter over the years. The natural characteristics mean that computer desktops made from walnut are stylish and modern.

You can also look forward to a visually rich computer desk that instantly adds character to the space. The unique dark, sleek grey, and rich tones make walnut suitable for most decors.

But, above all, we love walnut’s strength and durability. Walnut wood is strong and durable enough to withstand any indoor conditions. Walnut doesn’t warp or chip easily, even in the toughest environmental conditions.

Walnut can also take rough usage, though we strongly recommend utmost care. Woodworkers also love walnut because of their ability to be shaped into elaborate durable curves.

So, if you’re looking to add some style to your computer desk by curving the edges or adding some decorations, walnut wood is an excellent choice.

The only major downside of walnut wood is its price. Walnut is one of the worlds most expensive wood today; quarter-sawn pieces cost from $7.5/foot.

What We Liked Most

  • Gorgeous chocolate brown tone
  • Straight open grain pattern
  • Mold and water-resistant
  • Shock resistant
  • Highly durable

What Could Be Improved

  • Requires once-a-year sealing
  • Dents with heavy use
  • Very expensive

3. Cherry

Cherry wood is obtained from cherry trees which typically grow to 100 feet or taller. The trees can grow to 100 years but are typically felled at 50-90 years due to rotting susceptibility.

Cherry is a highly in-demand wood that’s both beautiful and easy to work with. In terms of appearance, cherry wood is reddish-brown with a golden hue.

This solid wood is paler when freshly cut but turns into a beautiful rich brown-red over time. The characteristic narrow and yellowish-to-red sapwood and yellowish to light red-brown heart make the wood easy to identify.

You’ll instantly fall in love with the straight grain and fine, uniform sanity and smooth texture. The moderate natural luster is another standout characteristic.

It’s also notable that cherry wood is highly durable and incredibly resistant to rot and decay. The heart is particularly rot-resistant. Cherry wood is also fairly strong and has medium resistance to shock loads.

We’d strongly recommend cherry wood for woodworking beginners as it’s one of the easiest woods to work with. It cuts easily and doesn’t require unique tools to work.

Better still, cherry wood exhibits excellent gluing, nailing, screwing, and polishing properties.

What We Liked Most

  • It’s beautiful solid wood
  • Great finishing properties
  • Easy to curve, cut, and mold
  • Excellent strength and durability

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s fairly expensive
  • Not wear/scratch-resistant

4. Maple

Maple is another excellent wood choice for tables and desks, including computer desks as well as epoxy tables. It is incredibly strong, looks great, and stains nicely. It’s also lightweight and with impressive durability, making it a great choice for woodworkers.

However, before you begin working with maple, you may want to know that maple wood comes in multiple species. Some of the most notable types are the Japanese maple, Norway maple, sycamore maple, field maple.

Red maple and sugar maple. You may also have heard about the silver maple. However, sugar maple is the most popular maple wood. Also, popular as rock maple, the sugar maple is the only hard maple. Meanwhile, the rest are known as “soft” maples. Soft maples aren’t necessarily softwoods.

However, they are typically softer than hard maples. The only other maple often considered a “hard maple” is the black maple.

Maple scores well on the famed Janka test rated an impressive 1,450 Janka. This is very high compared to other woods such as oak (1,360) and walnut (1,010). Even cherry wood is only rated 950 Janka.

Maple wood is characterized by creamy white color, sapwood with a slight pink-brownish tingle that gives the wood a modern and attractive appearance. However, one major downfall is that it is prone to insect attacks.

What We Liked Most

  • Durable and strong
  • Incredibly sturdy
  • Straight grain with swirls 
  • Beautiful creamy color
  • Highly moisture-resistant

What Could Be Improved

  • Prone to insect attacks
  • Not weather-resistant
  • Not good for heavy use

5. Birch

Birch is a native hardwood that typically grows in North America. It also comes in many varieties, though the most common species are white birch, yellow birch, and black birch.

The yellow birch and white birch are particularly popular. However, if someone only mentions “birch,” they typically refer to yellow birch, also known as the golden birch.

Birch is frequently used in woodworking projects and construction to build exterior wood columns. Besides computer desktops and tables, it’s also made into toy parts, toothpicks, and paper. However, sold birch furniture is hard to find.

What we love most about birch are its strength and durability. Although it’s not the hardest wood, it can last many decades with good maintenance. In addition, it’s rated 1,260 on the Janka test, making it an excellent choice for desktop making.

It’s also a very attractive wood. The fine strain with waves and pores gives it a unique look, while the straight grain makes it characteristically unique.

The closed pore structure allows birch wood structures to stain and finish excellently, producing a beautiful and uniform surface.

Furthermore, it exhibits excellent machining qualities that enable smooth sanding. Above all, birch isn’t as expensive as other hardwoods.

What We Liked Most

  • Gorgeous straight grains
  • Strong and durable
  • Not very expensive
  • Allows for easy finishing
  • Easy to work with

What Could Be Improved

  • No wear or sheer-resistance
  • Warps and cracks easily in dry conditions

6. Rosewood

Rosewood is another excellent solid wood option for woodworkers searching for the best wood for desktops. Commonly grown in south Asia, the timber comes from the leguminous Dalbergia plant, named after the pungent, sour taste from cut rosewood.

Significant advantages of rosewood for computer desks include natural beauty and durability. In addition, the dark red and light red colors make rosewood pieces attractive and bold.

Better still, the greasy nature and clear, varied texture make rosewood surfaces both beautiful and weather-proof. There are a couple of things you need to know about rosewood, though.

For one, the heartwood and sapwood of the rosewood species vary slightly. Whereas the heartwood is orange, red, purple, or dark brown, the sapwood is yellowish-brown.

Additionally, rosewood is a little heavy. So, your desks, tables, ad other rosewood furniture may be challenging to move around.

Rosewood also tends to deform too quickly for our liking. Woodworking experts attribute this to the high moisture content.

As such, rosewood desks are best kept and used indoors as direct sunlight worsens warping. The steep prices may prove another stumbling block considering the long list of disadvantages.

What We Liked Most

  • Extremely durable
  • Highly attractive with a beautiful color
  • It’s more common than other hardwoods
  • Applicable in a wide range of projects

What Could Be Improved

  • Easy to deform
  • Bulky and difficult to carry
  • Too many cases of fake rosewood

7. Teak

You’ve likely come across teak furniture before and even heard about the endless qualities of long-grown teaks.

It is one of the hardest, most durable, and strongest hardwoods at 1150 Janka, making it the perfect material for computer desks, tables, and other indoor furniture.

It excellently withstands weather elements, such as moisture and exposure to direct sunlight. This is why most high-end outdoor furniture is made from teak.

Whether it’s severe snowstorms or a broiling summer, your furniture will retain most of its natural qualities. Additionally, teak is highly pest-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about mites attacking your wooden desks.

Above all, teak is very beautiful and low-maintenance. New teak wooden furniture is characterized by a shiny honey-brown color that naturally ages to an elegant patina grey.

However, you can stain it to retain the original color. Regardless, the natural color, whether light brown or grey, easily complement modern architecture.

Remember that teak also doesn’t rust when it comes in contact with metal surfaces. This is another amazing quality that allows teak wood products to retain their stunning beauty for a long time.

Indeed, some teak products can last a lifetime.

What We Liked Most

  • High strength and durability
  • Feels great to touch
  • Weather and moisture resistant
  • Elegant straight grain pattern

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s costly
  • Teak wood is hard to find

8. Pine

Another popular option for wooden desktops is pine. Pine is considered softwood, meaning that it’s softer than hardwood varieties. Its stiff wood and high resistance to shock make it a top choice for most woodwork.

Woodworkers also love that pine is very easy to work with. It has a characteristic light color, usually creamy white, though the shades can vary from one pinewood type to the next.

The light color makes it the perfect wood choice if you intend to paint your computer desk top table. But, of course, you can achieve any color you want.

Alternatively, you can simply use a stain to protect the wood and preserve the white color. Here’s are the best stains for pine wood that I recommend.

The main advantage of pine over other wood types, however, is the cost. Pine is the cheapest type of wood to buy and maintain.

Indeed, if you’re solely focused on finding an affordable type of wood for your desk top project, then pine would be the best option.

Beyond the cost, pine is also lighter in weight compared to popular hardwoods. So, you can look forward to a lighter desk that affords greater mobility.

What We Liked Most

  • Light color blends with most decors
  • Easily paintable
  • Highly resistant to shocks and damage
  • It’s very stiff, making it durable and strong
  • Cheap wood for desktop making.
  • Also best wood for windows
  • Highly resistant to shrinking and swelling

What Could Be Improved

  • Not very versatile style-wise
  • Increased signs of wear

9. Elmwood

Finally, another great wood type for making a hardwood desk is elmwood. Elm is a coarse-grained hardwood that is moderately hard and very tough, making it a great choice if you’re keen to find a wood type that resists splitting under pressure.

For instance, it would be an excellent option if you have a large desktop or even a mainframe. It also makes the best wood adirondack chairs, regular office desks and chairs and other kinds of furniture.

Unfortunately, elm splits rather easily, especially during the season. The good news is that experienced woodworkers know how to present finished elm wood products while presenting the splits as characters.

For instance, you can tie the splits with butterfly keys to turn them into styling elements. Elm is also a tough wood to cut. However, it makes up for it with excellent finish qualities. It’s easy to cut, sand, and polish.

However, you may need sharp sanding tools as elmwood with interlocked grain tend to tear quite badly when planed.

Above all, elm is highly durable with reduced environmental impact and can keep long enough with good maintenance. It’s rated 830 Janka.

What We Liked Most

  • Excellent for work desks
  • Highly durable
  • Clean, smooth texture
  • Low environmental impact

What Could Be Improved

  • Difficult to dry
  • Prone to insect attacks


Other worthy options not on the above list are bamboo, cedar, and plywood. Plywood isn’t technically a type of wood.

Instead, it’s a complex material that attaches resin and fiber sheets of plywood. However, it’s quite popular because of its relatively low moisture content.

Plywood also offers excellent finish qualities.

Read also: Selecting the appropriate plywood thickness for cabinet doors is crucial to ensure structural integrity and a refined aesthetic appearance.

DIY Wood Desktop: How to Make a Wooden Desk Top

Ideally, you want to take relevant classes to make the best wood desk. However, the general process is straightforward.

We’ll use two pieces of 2×4” solid wood. However, you can use store-cut plywood, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of sizing.


  • 2 pieces of 2” x 4” high-quality wood
  • Wood stain
  • Wood glue
  • Wood putty
  • Screws


  • Table saw
  • Planer
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • Sander
  • Router
  • Shelf brackets
  • Wood biscuits and biscuit joiner

How to Make a Wooden Desk – step-by-step

Step 1: Cut the lumber to the correct desktop length

We recommend having them cut at the store to avoid trouble. However, if you have 2 x10s, you need to cut the wood slabs to the correct 11’6” length using the table saw.

Step 2: Position the lumber on the work surface

While doing so, choose the best sides of the wood pieces to use as the desktop surface. Of course, the ideal side is one with the least number of cracks or scratches.

Step 3: Clamp the two boards together

Clamping helps ensure that your desktop is completely straight. You can easily clamp two pieces of lumber from one side to the other using a long clamp. Feel free to support them with other wood slabs.

Step 4: Screw the boards together

Drill holes close to the edge of the first wood piece that runs into the second wood piece. You only need two or three holes. Then, set the screws using the screwdriver. Then remove the clamps.

Recommended Reading: How to Drill a Screw into Wood

Step 5: Drill holes for cables and other wires

The most important thing here is to drill on the correct side. Most cables and wires run through desktops through the left side, so the setup doesn’t interrupt the right hand. However, you can also drill holes on the left, center, and right.

Step 6: Fill up the seams and wood cracks

Keep in mind that epoxy can make surfaces appear lighter than the rest of the wood. So, only do it if it’s absolutely necessary. Otherwise, wait until after staining.

Step 7: Smooth the desktop

The desk should be very smooth. Fortunately, sanding is all you need to achieve a smooth finish. We recommend starting with 60 grit sandpaper, then 120, 220, and finally 400.

Step 8: Stain the desk top

A coat of stain helps protect the wood and creates the perfect surface for painting – if you need to. Use a paintbrush to apply the stain. Here are the best brushes to stain wood.

Then wait a few minutes and wipe off the excess stain with a rag. Then apply a second coat and wipe again after a few minutes.

Step 9: Complete the installation

Carry the new desktop to the office. Just keep in mind that hardwood desks can be heavy depending on the type of wood. So, you may need a helping hand. Lay the desktop on top of the cabinets or feet and secure them in place with screws.  

Recommended Reading: How Much Does a Cord of Wood Weigh?

What Wood to Use for Desktop: Factors to Consider When Choosing Desktop Wood

Choosing the right wood type is critical to making desktops, tables, and other office furniture. We recommend prioritizing the following four factors;

Quality of the desktop lumber

The quality of the lumber for desk determines the durability and finishing. Most DIYers prefer solid wood types as they’re more durable and resistant to weather elements and insect attacks. It must also be sturdy.


Wood color is important as it directly impacts style and finishing. For instance, you may or may not need to paint your hardwood desk depending on whether it’s light or dark.

Dark stains on your lumber desk can also impact overall aesthetics.


The grain of a wood piece is considered one of the piece’s most critical qualities. Why? Because wood grain determines the strength, durability, and texture of the wood.

The wood cells’ size, type, and arrangement that make up the grain also determine the wood piece’s aesthetic qualities.


Finally, you must also consider the price of the wood. Ideally, for DIY, you want to consider cost-effective woods, such as elm and plywood.

At the same time, though, it would be counterproductive to overstress the cost if you want a durable desktop.

In the end, the best type of wood for DIYers working on a desktop-making project must be of the highest quality but within an affordable price range.


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Types of Wood Desks

Besides the type of wood, you should also decide the type of computer desk you want for your office. The most common office desk types are as follows;

Corner desks

Corner desks can be a space-saving solution in compact office setups. They are also common in sprawling suites in more elaborate configurations. You can have two or more desks connecting at the corner or build an L-shaped desk.  

Computer desk

Computer desk is the most practical solution in modern offices and home work stations. The standard computer desk provides plenty of space for the computer tower and monitor while leaving enough room for computer accessories.

The desks are also specially built to accommodate cables and all the necessary peripherals.

Exec​​utive desk – office desk

Executive desks or standard office desks are the perfect solutions if you want to create the perfect office setting. A light, sturdy office table is both relaxing and practical.

The desks also provide enough footprint and elegancy fitting of an office. Note that office tables typically feature carvings that impart a sense of grandeur and timeless appeal.

Credenza desk

Credenza desks combine desks with cupboard-packed credenza. They are commonly found in dining rooms or living areas with limited space to add fashion and utility.

The cupboard serves as storage, while the computer desk component provides plenty of room to attend to daily office routines. The only downside is that such an arrangement exposes you to distractions.

Standing desks – Adjustable height desks

Finally, you can also opt for standing desks, better known as adjustable height desks. Adjustable standing desks give you the option to lower or make the desk taller so you can use the computer desk when standing or seated.

However, you can also opt for static standing desks that are permanently raised for use while standing. When making your own work desks, other desk types are a writing desk and a homemade desk.

A writing desk is a minimalistic open desk with limited storage, while a homemade desk is an ordinary computer desk made at home, not necessarily for office use. A homemade desk is typically cheap to make.

Here’s an interesting read on the best type of wood fence.


Which is the best wood for computer desk?

The best wood for a computer desk is cherry wood, maple wood, black walnut wood, and quarter-sawn oak wood. In general, solid woods make excellent candidates for desktop making. However, plywood and bamboo are also strong and attractive, more cost-effective options for computer table top.

Read: The best wood for axe handles

Is Pine a good wood for a desk?

Indeed, pine stands out as a superb option for crafting desktops due to its remarkable strength, shock resistance, and overall sturdiness. The wood’s rustic color harmoniously complements country styles. However, it’s worth noting that pine may exhibit signs of wear or damage more readily. Additionally, it excels as the best wood for open shelving.

Is plywood good for desktop?

Yes. The best plywood for desk is are19mm thick plywood sheets. Plywood is a high-strength and dimensionally stable wood. It also boasts high impact resistance and excellent water and chemical resistance. Plywood is also a good wood for bathroom vanity making. Also read about the best plywood for subwoofer box.

How thick should a hardwood desktop be?

18mm of solid wood. The perfect thickness may vary slightly depending on the type of wood. For instance, you need 19mm thick plywood for the best desktop. Meanwhile, you only need 17mm for other wood types; however, 18mm is the average.

Where can I buy wood for a desk?

The best place to buy a piece of wood for desk making are big-box hardware stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. However, don’t hesitate to visit your local lumberyard too. Finally, if the two options don’t work, check online. You’ll never miss lumbar dealers online who’re even willing to offer a significant discount.

Read also: Does Home Depot cut wood for you?

Did you know?

Maple wood is suitable for crafting the best wooden spoons due to its durability and smooth texture. Using Maple, you can create functional and aesthetically pleasing spoons. However, remember to follow proper woodworking techniques and tools to ensure safety and precision during the crafting process.

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Best Wood for Desktop Summary

Now you know some of the best woods desk top buildings. Ideally, the best wood for desktop is solid wood with excellent natural qualities, such as refined grains.

Hardwood is the best choice because of its strength. Hardwood furniture is also very beautiful. However, make sure to consider price, especially when making your desk.

Color is a personal preference. Although most people prefer darker tones, the light brown color is also very fitting in the office setup.

If you feel spoilt for choice, find a light-colored desk top that you can stain with a dark stain if your taste changes.

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