Best Wood For Desk

Which Wood Types are Recommended For a Desktop?

There are many types of wood available for desktop manufacturing, but the primary ones are oak, birch, beech, maple, and mahogany. Each real wood has its own unique characteristics, so it’s important to understand which types of wood will best suit your needs for your DIY desk or computer desk.

Most Popular Types of Wood For Desks

Oak is one of the most common woods used for furniture because of its durability and attractive coloration. However, it’s also one of the most expensive woods on the market. If you need an oak wood desk, it will cost much more than other woods. That being said, oak is still a good option if you can afford it. It will last forever and look great with time.

Oak Wood

Birch is another popular choice for a wooden desk is birch. Birch is a softwood that’s easy to work with and has an appealing appearance. It’s also one of the least expensive woods on the market.

Birch, like oak, will last forever and looks great with age. However, since birch is a softwood, it tends to warp over time and may require periodic refinishing.

Beech is another popular wood for furniture making because of its durability and attractive coloration. Beech is slightly more resistant to warping than oak or birch, but it’s still not as resistant as mahogany.

If you need a desktop made from beech, it will have a slightly unfinished look because of this. However, this does not negatively impact its usability in any way.

Maple is another common desktop material that has many advantages. It’s very resistant to water and rot, and it has an attractive appearance.

Cherry wood for desktops is becoming more common. It has an attractive appearance and a pleasant aroma. It also has excellent hardness and strength properties. However, like most hardwoods, cherry will darken over time.

This will not happen immediately, but over time the coloration will become more pronounced.

Cherry Wood

When it comes to choosing wood for your desktop, it’s important to consider what you are going to use the desktop for. If you plan on using it for heavy-duty work, you should opt for a wood with a higher-grade designation. For example, if you need a solid wood desktop for cutting and carving, go with hardwood like maple or cherry.

However, if you need something for light-duty use like writing with a pen or pencil, a softwood like a birch will be a better choice.

Wood Blends

Once you determine what type of wood you want to use, it’s time to consider how much of the wood you want to use. There are three options when it comes to choosing how much wood you want to use: You can get 100% wood, 50/50 wood, or some other blend.

Let’s discuss each option.

100% Wood: This is the most common option and is what most people choose. With this option, you are getting all the benefits of the wood without any of the drawbacks. For example, if you select 100% oak for your solid wood desk, you will get all the benefits of an oak desktop without the warping issues that are common with beech or birch.

However, this also means you will be paying a lot more for your home office desk. Since oak is one of the most popular woods for furniture making, it is in high demand. As a result, oak is one of the most expensive woods on the market. That being said, if you can afford it, oak is still a great choice. It will last forever and look great with age.

50/50 Wood:

This option gives you the best of both worlds. If you decide to use 50% maple and 50% oak for your desktop you will have the appearance and durability of an oak desktop but without the cost associated with an oak desktop.

Other Blend: The third option is to select a blend of different types of wood. This is a great option if you want to use wood that is less popular than oak-like birch or poplar. However, you will lose some of the benefits of using 100% wood-like durability.

For example, if you choose a blend of 70% oak and 30% birch, you will still get the appearance and durability of an oak desktop. However, because you are using a blend, you will not get the great looks of a birch desktop.

Other Types of Wood For Desktop 


Walnut is great for fine cabinetry because of its resistance to warping. However, it is not a good choice for an outdoor deck because it will rot if it gets wet.

Red Oak

Red oak is great for outdoor furniture because of its resistance to rot and mold. However, it is not a good choice for an indoor desk because it tends to warp.


This is one of the best woods to use for an indoor or outdoor desk. It has a natural tendency to straighten out when it is exposed to air so it is a good choice for any kind of construction where the wood will be exposed to the elements.


All-purpose wood that is extremely resistant to rot, mold, and insects. It has a natural curly wood grain that makes it easy to work with and a tight, uniform finish.


Resistant to decay and has a tight, uniform grain and finish. It is frequently used for wood furniture making because of its fine qualities. 

African hardwoods

Some of the strongest and most durable woods on earth. They are also some of the hardest to work with and most expensive.

African mahogany is often mistakenly called “mahogany.” It is not true mahogany at all. True mahogany is much softer and has a different grain than African mahogany. 


Soft, easy-to-work wood with tight, uniform grain and a fresh, clean look. It has excellent resistance to insect and fungal attacks and a high gloss finish. It is often used for indoor decorative purposes.

Bamboo is the hardest wood in the world, I know bamboo is technically grass but… It’s 2-3 times harder than oak and won’t sag or crack under the weight of your desktop items. A real 1″ thick desktop will hold up to years of use.


Great all-around wood for any type of construction. It has a beautiful warm golden color and a tight grain that makes it a good choice for decorative purposes.

However, it does have some characteristics that make it a poor choice for furniture. It has a tendency to split and crack when it is worked hard. Also, it will swell when it comes in contact with moisture and this can cause it to warp.


Teak is an excellent wood for outdoor furniture because of its resistance to rot and mold. It has a tight grain and a rich golden color that is almost impossible to match with anything else.

Unfortunately, teak is very expensive and difficult to work with. It has a tendency to split, check, and crack when it is worked hard.

Writing Desk vs Computer Desk

I’ve not heard of people using writing desks for a while, but it’s a question that tends to pop up. A writing desk is often smaller, perhaps with drawers for stationery items. Whereas a computer desk is bigger, wanting a more spacious environment.

But, that said it’s your real wood desk and you can build it any way you wish! Be daring and try different things in different builds.

Wood Finishes For a Desk

Oil-based varnish is the most durable finish that can be easily applied by the average woodworker. Varnish surpasses most other finishes in its resistance to water, heat, solvents, and other chemicals.

TotalBoat-497712 Halcyon Marine Varnish (Gloss, Quart) | Water-Based Polyurethane Wood Finish | Clear Gloss UV Protection for Interior and Outdoor Use

Beeswax will bring out the stunning beauty of wooden furniture grains and leave wood satisfying to the touch. This will give the most luxurious look.

Howemon White Beeswax Pellets 2LB 100% Pure and Natural Triple Filtered for Skin, Face, Body and Hair Care DIY Creams, Lotions, Lip Balm and Soap Making Supplies

Paint using oil-based paint will make it last forever, paint will protect the wood from water, liquids, and other damaging effects. Using spray paint will give a uniform look to the furniture. It will be easy to clean and maintain. Sanding and preparing the wood surface for painting is the hardest part of the whole process. But, after that, it’s just like painting any other surface. 

Chalk Style Paint - for Furniture, Home Decor, Crafts - Eco-Friendly - All-in-One - No Wax Needed (Liquorice [Black], Pint (16 oz))

Want a Step-by-Step Guide For How To Build a Wooden Desk?

A very good site with free blueprints, step-by-step guides for making wooded desks is Shanty 2 Chic. Two to get started with are their DIY Floating Desk With Storage.

Courtesy of Shanty 2 Chic

And their DIY Corner Desk here. You can’t go wrong with any of these.

Courtesy of Shanty 2 Chic

More Furniture Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best types of wood for an office desk?

Cheery wood, elm, maple, cedar, and rosewood are the best types of wood to be used on a homemade desk. Each wood has its own unique characteristics, so it’s important to understand which wood type will best suit your needs.

How thick should the best wood desktop for standing desk be?

The best wood for a standing desk should be anywhere from 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick. When the top of the wood is thicker, it will make the standing desk stronger but also add weight to the entire frame of the desk.

What Is Reclaimed Wood?

A green option to using traditional wood is acquiring reclaimed wood, it is high-quality upcycled wood that’s been taken from other sources which are being dismantled like factories, old barns, ships, warehouses, etc. This highly sought-after lumber is ready to be recycled and put to use again. 

What is the most expensive wood for furniture?

The most expensive woods used for furniture include:
* Rosewood
* Elm
* Maple Wood
* Mahogany
* Bubinga Wood
* Bocote Wood
* Lignum Vitae
* Purple heartwood
* Dalbergia Wood
* Pink Ivory Wood
* Snakewood
* Ebony Wood
* Agarwood
* African Blackwood
* Sandalwood

Is solid wood furniture best?

Solid wood is the best choice for furniture. But, like any natural material, there are downsides. Wood is more susceptible to changes in climate, which can cause it to warp or crack. It’s also more expensive than furniture made from engineered wood products.