March 5, 2023

Best wood for a farmhouse table

When choosing the best wood for a farmhouse table, consider price, durability, style, color, and appearance. Pay attention to the type of wood, the size and shape of the table, and the finish you want. Choosing the right wood is crucial to create a charming and rustic farmhouse atmosphere in your dining room. From white oak to maple, various woods can be considered for your project. But how do you know which wood is best for your farmhouse table? In this post, we’ll introduce you to the different types of wood and their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. So if you want to know which wood is best for a farmhouse table, read on!

Factors to consider when selecting wood for a farmhouse table


Wood durability is the level of hardness measured using the Janka test. It checks the resistance of a wood piece against force or damage. The level shown on the scale is the durability of the wood. The higher it is, the harder the wood is, and vice versa. 

To keep the everyday wear of your table minimal, consider the hardness of the wood. Softer woods like new pine or poplar can be more susceptible to dings (


Wood grain refers to the pattern and texture of the wood fibers that make up the surface of the wood. The direction of the growth rings and the size and arrangement of the wood fibers determine the grain pattern. The texture and appearance of the grain play a crucial role in the aesthetic appeal of the farmhouse table.

The size of the pores in the wood affects the grain pattern. If the pores are large and open, the grain will be more pronounced, and the texture of the wood will be more visible. Woods with an open grain pattern include oak, ash, and hickory, among others. If the pores are small and closed, the grain pattern will be smoother and less visible, and the texture of the wood will be more uniform. Examples of woods with a closed-grain pattern include maple and cherry.

Each type of wood has unique properties that make it suitable for use in a farmhouse table. For example, Maple is popular for its strength, density, and scratch resistance [1][8]. White Oak is a durable hardwood with a rustic feel for the table [3]. Beechwood is another excellent choice due to its hardness and durability, and it can provide a rustic, warm feel to the table [2]. Reclaimed wood is also a popular choice for creating a rustic look and preserving the character of the wood over the years [5].

In addition to the type of wood, it’s essential to consider the direction of the grain when building a farmhouse table. The direction of the grain affects the stability of the table and how it reacts to changes in humidity and temperature. For example, alternating the cup direction of the wood on the tabletop can help to prevent warping and cracking [7].


Check the price of farmhouse tables from solid wood. Those types of wood are less affordable than industrial wood tables. Due to the handicraft process, the wood quality and type are better. 


For a farmhouse table, wood such as pine and oak make better farmhouse tables. Woods like maple or new pine give your table a classic farmhouse look without rustic details. Wood with beautiful graining, such as oak, should have a stained or waxed finish ( If you want a painted table, choose wood with fewer knots, like poplar or maple.

Types of wood commonly used for farmhouse tables


Maple wood is popular for farmhouse tables due to its strength, durability, and attractive grain pattern [2]. It is a hardwood with a high-density level, making it strong and durable, which makes it a suitable option for the wear and tear of daily use [1].

One of the defining features of maple wood is its unique grain pattern, which is smooth and uniform, with a tight, even grain. The sapwood and heartwood of maple wood are yellowish-white, and their natural finish is light in tone, giving it an attractive and inviting appearance [2].

Maple wood is also resistant to water and moisture, making it ideal for use in a farmhouse table that may be exposed to spills or humid conditions. Its density and hardness make it resistant to scratches and dents, so it can withstand daily use without showing signs of wear and tear [1][2].

Regarding staining, maple wood is an excellent option as it takes stains well and is an environmentally friendly choice for your farmhouse table. Its light and consistent grain pattern allows the stain to penetrate evenly, producing a smooth and uniform finish. Furthermore, maple wood can be finished in various colors to match your decor preferences [2].


Pine is a popular type of wood used for farmhouse tables due to its affordability and accessibility. Pine is a softwood and therefore has a softer texture than hardwoods like oak and maple, but its density can vary depending on the specific type of pine used. Pine is generally lightweight, making it easy to move and work with.

As for the color, the statement that “what determines the color is the type of pine wood you have” is accurate. Pine can range in color from creamy white to yellow to reddish-brown, depending on the species and location of the tree. The pine sapwood is typically lighter in color, while the heartwood is darker and can have a more distinct grain pattern.

While pine is a popular choice for farmhouse tables, its softness can make it more prone to scratches and dents than harder woods like oak and maple. It may require more maintenance over time to keep it looking its best. [1] Additionally, while the affordability of pine is appealing, its lower density can also make it more susceptible to warping or splitting over time. [2]

White oak

White oak is a popular choice of wood for farmhouse tables as it is hard and durable, making it perfect for heavy use. It is known for its rustic appeal and can give a classic look to the table [1]. White oak is also known for its ability to resist moisture and decay, making it ideal for outdoor use [7]. The material can be found in standard-sized boards, which can be used for constructing the table base, while the live edge can be used for the tabletop to add some style and uniqueness [1].

White oak can have a light color on the sapwood and a dark brown tone on the heartwood. The sapwood can be a light cream color, while the heartwood can be a light to medium brown color that can become darker as it ages [1]. Heartwood is often more sought after for furniture making due to its color and grain patterns [7].

It is important to note that drying time can vary for white oak, which may take some time before it can be used. Stained finishes are often used to enhance the natural beauty of the wood [1].


While Cherry wood can provide warm colors for the tabletop and base, it is not commonly used for farmhouse tables. Instead, Pine is a popular and affordable option for farmhouse tables as it absorbs stain well and is easy to find at big box stores. Pine is also a softer wood, making it easier for beginner woodworkers to drill into and work with [1]. Other commonly used woods for farmhouse tables include Oak, Maple, and Walnut, with each type of wood having unique characteristics [2].

Reclaimed wood is also an excellent option for achieving the farmhouse look, and it is often less expensive than solid oak or mahogany [3]. The choice of wood for a farmhouse table depends on personal preference, and the type of wood used will affect the final appearance of the table.


Cypress wood is known for its versatility and is commonly used for various applications, including furniture making. It ranges in color from light to dark, with some variations having scattered pockets of darker wood, such as the pecky cypress variety [1]. Cypress wood is widespread in wetland or swampy environments such as Louisiana. In these areas, the cypress wood is usually harvested from trees submerged in water for a long time. These are known as sinker cypress and are often used to make beautiful tabletops and furniture [1].

Cypress wood is relatively easy to work with and is known for its resistance to rot, making it an excellent choice for outdoor furniture. It is also relatively durable, with high resistance to dents and scratches, which makes it an ideal choice for farmhouse tables that are subjected to heavy use [1].


Hickory wood is a strong and durable hardwood, making it a popular choice for farmhouse furniture. According to [1], hickory is one of the strongest woods native to the United States and can resist dents and damage. Its stiffness and strength allow it to accommodate heavyweight and different weather conditions, which is ideal for furniture that experiences high traffic.

However, the claim that dents and dings add character to a farmhouse table is subjective and may not be true for everyone. While some people may appreciate the rustic look that dents and dings give to their furniture, others may prefer a more polished appearance. It is also worth noting that hickory wood’s stiffness and strength make it difficult to work with, and its density can make it challenging to stain evenly [6].

Advantages and disadvantages of different types of wood for farmhouse tables



Pine wood is affordable and readily available in most stores. Its soft texture makes it easier for beginner woodworkers to work with. Additionally, pine wood has a natural yellowish color which can absorb stains and finishes well, providing a range of design options for your farmhouse table. [1]


Pine wood is easily scratched or dented and may crack under pressure. Pine heartwood, the darker wood at the center of the tree, tends to decay over time, limiting the wood’s longevity. Pine is also a softwood, which may not be as durable or long-lasting as some hardwood options for farmhouse tables. [1]

White oak


White oak wood is a popular choice for farmhouse tables because it is durable hardwood resistant to wear and tear. It has a beautiful, distinctive grain pattern adds character to the table and gives it a rustic feel. The wood is also relatively easy to work with, making it a good choice for DIY enthusiasts who want to construct their table. Additionally, you can easily find standard-sized boards to construct the table base.


One of the main disadvantages of white oak wood is its low insect resistance. It can be vulnerable to damage from insects like termites and powderpost beetles if not properly treated. Additionally, white oak wood can be more expensive than other types of wood, which may be a consideration for those on a budget.



  • Maple wood is a sustainable and eco-friendly choice because it is farmed rather than grown in the forest. [1]
  • Maple wood is a hard and dense wood that can handle wear and tear, making it durable for furniture. [1]


  • Maple wood is likely to decay quickly and has a low resistance to insect attack, which can compromise its longevity. [1]
  • Soft maple, in particular, is not suitable for heavy items and can be prone to warping. [1]



Cherry wood has a unique and beautiful grain pattern and smooth texture [5]. It is known for its rich, warm tones that deepen and mature over time, making it a popular choice for traditional and farmhouse-style furniture [1]. Cherry wood is also relatively affordable compared to other hardwoods, making it a good option for farmhouse tables [2].


One disadvantage of cherry wood is that it is a softwood and may dent or scratch more easily than harder woods like oak or maple. It is not the best option for heavy use or accommodating heavy items on the table [1]. Additionally, cherry wood is photosensitive and will darken with age, resulting in uneven coloring if the table is not regularly maintained or exposed to varying light levels [3].

Tips for finishing and maintaining a farmhouse table

Use a natural finish to enhance the wood’s grain and character, protecting the table from spills and stains. Consider a clear top coat over your table. A stained or painted finish makes a durable surface for a farmhouse tabletop. 

Any surface damage to this finish may require professional repair. Whatever finish you choose for your farmhouse table, use placemats, coasters, and hot pads to keep it free of water rings or burn marks.

Polycrylic topcoats create a hard finish for your table and dry quickly, but they do not tolerate high heat more than polyurethane finish. Polycrylic top coats do not tend to be yellow as often as polyurethane.

Clear furniture wax seals natural wood projects. Furniture wax provides a soft, silky finish to a piece but has the least durable sealers. It needs reapplication over time. Applying a furniture wax requires practice, but once you know it is for smaller projects such as picture frames and small furniture items.


In summary, when building a farmhouse table, you should consider the type of wood. It must match your style and your final color. When weighing your options when choosing wood for a farmhouse table, do not forget to consider your budget and the look you want. Be sure to provide proper care and maintenance to ensure the longevity and beauty of the table. Take your time and compare your needs with the features of your first choice.

David D. Hughes

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