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Best Wood for Your Dining Table

Your dining table isn't just where meals take place; it's where life happens. Since dining tables are a significant investment in your family's home, you should know which woods work best for dining room tables as you shop for the perfect one.

When evaluating wood to use for your dining table, it's important to understand the concept of wood hardness. The Janka Test is an industry-standard measure of the resistance of wood. This is determined by measuring the force required to embed an 11-millimeter steel ball into a piece of wood to create a circle with a one square centimeter area. Certain woods, such as genuine mahogany, are soft compared to other woods like hickory or ivory.

This article serves as a guide to different kinds of wood so you can choose the best wood for a dining room table.

Interested in a wood dining table? Check out Oak Unlimited Furniture's suppliers.

Type of Wood

Your dining table can be made of several different types of wood. Here are just a few and some key differences between them.

A floor with wood planks
Photo by FWStudio on Pexels


Pine is a softwood, as it's derived from coniferous trees, which means they have needles as opposed to leaves. Out of the 120 varieties of pine wood, only a few, such as sugar pine, western white pine, and spruce pine, are suitable for crafting dining tables and other furniture. Pine is rugged wood that can handle being shaped and sculpted into various contours. Another notable feature of pine is its natural light color, making it a prime candidate to be dressed up by surrounding decor or on-table elements.


A versatile wood, cherry is a great choice when you want to add a little flavor to your furniture. This type of wood is naturally reddish-brown in hue and tends to get darker over time, which can give your dining table a rustic, antique look. Cherry wood stands out amongst other types for its superior ability to be shaped and manipulated. Cherry wood is an ordinary domestic wood available at almost any wood distributor, which is good news if you're looking to get your hands (and food!) on a cherry dining table as quickly as possible.


Maple is an exceptionally durable wood, making it an obvious choice for a high-traffic piece of furniture like a dining table. Maple wood comes in two types: Hard maple (sugar maple) and soft maple. Despite the name, soft maple is still considered a hardwood, and it's only 25% softer than its hard maple counterpart. In addition to being easy to craft for woodworking purposes, maple is a very affordable and readily available wood. Maple wood's soft color gives it an understated appeal, so your table matches any color or design scheme.

Bright red maple leaves
Photo by jbom411 on

Wormy Maple

Wormy maple is a form of soft maple that gets its unique coloring thanks to the Ambrosia beetles that infest these trees in the forest. The larvae that the beetles deposit discolors the wood and ensures that no two planks are identical. Wormy maple wood typically ranges in color from a light beige to a deep brown, giving you a range of options in finding the best color that works for your dining table. This durable wood is often quite thick, making it a solid choice for dining tables with a lot of action.


Walnut is a classic wood that's a popular choice with woodworkers. This wood is a hardwood from the black walnut tree, also known as the American walnut, and has a rich, dark color. Walnut is flexible enough to be shaped without breaking, and it stands apart from other types of wood for its ability to withstand steam bending. This means you can have a uniquely shaped dining table that fits perfectly with your kitchen and home's character. Walnut is also special because it lightens over time, so your furniture will show its age spots beautifully.

Type of Stain

Now that you know the best wood for a dining room table, learn about the types of stains you can use to enhance it.

Can't wait to find the perfect stain for your table? Check out our

Oil-based Stains

Oil-based stains can really bring your table to life by augmenting its natural color and adding a distinct richness. With oil-based stains, you can achieve an even look with minimal effort. You can use a brush or a rag to stain your dining table with an oil-based stain and be sure to wait 8-9 hours for it to dry before you add a finish.

Water-based Stains

These stains offer wood a slight color upgrade, but it's not as dramatic as you'll get with other types of stains. For a darker hue, apply additional coats. Water-based stains can be applied with a brush or a rag, but the wood should be raw or have an existing finish removed before a water-based stain is applied.

A dark wood dining table with candles and food

Find Your Wood Dining Table Wood

Whether you go with pine, oak or maple, or something in between, you're sure to find a wood for your dream table. Oak Unlimited is your premier local destination for all of your Canadian-made solid wood furniture needs.

Want to browse our selection? See all of the dining room sets Oak Unlimited Furniture has available.


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