Is a Solid Wood Desk Top the Best Option for Your Standing Desk?
Posted on February 03 2022
There is a wide range of materials used for making standing desk tops including MDF, 3D-laminate, manufactured wood, reclaimed wood, veneer, solid wood, and plywood. If you want the best of the best, though, we recommend going for solid wood! Solid wood is one of the best materials for office furniture, including standing desks.
This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of solid wood as a preferable material for standing desk tops. It will then discuss the factors to consider when buying a solid wood standing desk.
Advantages of Solid Wood Desk Tops
Classy: Solid wood desk tops add a flair to your home or office. A wood desktop will fit well with a wide range of décor, including rustic, Scandinavian, and modern.
Durable: Solid wood is dense and strong, depending on the wood type, making it durable for furniture. Unlike engineered woods or wood veneer, a solid wood top is less likely to split or break.
Disadvantages of Solid Wood Desk Tops
Limited range: Generally, there is a narrower range of solid wood standing desks on the market compared to other materials. As such the range of colors and shapes for a wood table top is limited.
Expensive: Solid wood raw material is quite costly. As such, many manufacturers shy away from manufacturing solid wood standing desks due to the high raw material costs.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Solid Wood Standing Desk
Types of Solid Wood Used for Making Standing Desks
Solid wood can be broadly categorized as hardwood or softwood. Hardwoods, such as oak, walnut, mahogany, and maple are denser, stronger, and more durable than softwoods such as larch, pine, spruce, and cedar.
Hardwood lumber is scarcer than softwood lumber, which results in high production costs and ultimately more expensive prices for solid hardwood table tops. Hardwoods are also more accepting of wood dyes enabling you to stain the desk top to a tone that best fits your décor
The most popular types of solid wood include:
- Cedar: Cedar has a unique range of colors including red and pink. It is soft with a straight grain. It is mainly used to make outdoor furniture but you may find a few cedar solid wood standing desks.
- Oregon: Also known as Douglas Fir, it is a type of hardwood with a straight grain. It is light yet quite sturdy and makes an excellent material for making standing desk tops.
- Pine: Pine is readily available and commonly used for making indoor furniture. On the downside, it is quite vulnerable to pest infestations, which lowers the wood’s lifespan. However, with proper treatment and sealing, you can prolong its lifespan.
- Ash: Ash is commonly used to make standing desks as a cheaper option for white oak. It is arguably the brightest type of solid wood.
- Ebony: Ebony is a highly sought after endangered exotic hardwood species that are endangered. It is quite expensive and you will hardly find it used to make standing desks.
- Mahogany: Mahogany is an imported hardwood that is quite pricey. Like ebony, you will hardly find it used to make standing desks.
- Walnut: This is a relatively stable, strong, and shock-resistant hardwood. It has a rich, dark color, and moderately open grains. It is lightweight and makes an excellent material for making standing desks. However, it needs to be handled with care like softwoods as it is prone to damage.
- Cherry Wood: It has a uniform texture and smooth, closed grain pattern that provides a lustrous, satin-quality finish. It has a beautiful reddish-brown color. It is stable and resistant to decay.
- Maple: Maple is preferred for its sturdiness. It is one of the hardest and most dense wood options and offers excellent durability. It has pale color tones and straight grains, fine texture, and some twists and swirls patterns. It makes highly durable, easy to clean, and cost-effective standing desk tops.
- White Oak: White oak is one of the top American hardwoods. It is durable, dense, and strong. Its lumber color varies from light tones to brown colors. It is rot-resistant, impervious to liquids, and easy to work with.
One of the main concerns with real wood furniture is its contribution to deforestation both within the US and worldwide. With the evidence of global warming, many customers want to make sure they're shopping for their wooden desk responsibly.
Responsible manufacturers have a strategy in place for ensuring sustainability in their furniture production. For instance, Brick Mill has partnered with One Tree to plant a tree for each piece of furniture they build. They are keen to only harvest trees that have reached the end of their lifecycle.
While some manufacturers claim that they import wood from certified sustainable sources, it can be difficult to confirm such claims. Unfortunately, there are no reliable international standards and regulations for lumber sourcing.
The right dimensions for your solid wood standing desk depend on its intended purpose, the number of people who will be using it, and the amount of space you have. Most manufacturers offer a range of standard sizes but you can also have a wood slab custom-made. Generally, the desk top thickness ranges between 1-2 inches.
Stability and Adjustability
The best standing desks are adjustable. You want to be able to use the desk whether you are standing or sitting. Ideally, the desk should adjust easily to your elbow level when standing or seated. The stand should be sturdy enough to support the desk top, things that will be placed on the desk top, as well as your weight.
Solid wood is dense, strong, and generally durable. However, softer solid woods such as maple and cherry are more susceptible to temperature and humidity compared to hardwoods such as oak and hickory. The entire desk top should also be sealed but some manufacturers seal the top part of the desk only.
The way the raw material is dried, sanded, and sealed is a key factor in determining the longevity of the desk top. To enhance durability, the wood should be dried completely to get rid of all moisture. The only manufacturers that can vouch for the quality of their wood are those that outsource and dry the wood themselves.
Machine Crafted vs. Handcrafted
The best solid wood standing desk will be handcrafted. Real wood has variations such as pitch streaks, cracks, and knots that require intricate handling. Handcrafting allows woodworkers to pay attention to specific characteristics of the solid wood and to sand, fill, and finish as need be.
Notably, handcrafted desk tops are more expensive than their machine-crafted counterparts. Handcrafting involves a lot of sanding, which is labor-intensive and time-consuming resulting in increasing labor costs.
There is nothing particularly wrong with a machine-processed solid wood standing desk. In fact, machine processing has high precision when drilling holes. It’s just that, handcrafting produces better results especially if you are working with live wood.
Different types of solid wood have different stains ranging from light, medium, to dark. Choose from a tone that best suits your home or office décor. Some manufactures also use stains, sealants, and finishes to achieve a given tone and enhance the wood’s durability.
Keep in mind that different stains and sealants have different levels of toxicity. Water-based sealants and plant-based VOCs are less toxic than regular VOCs. Plant-based VOCs and low-VOC sealants are also effective at protecting wood against abrasion, chemicals, marring, and moisture, and are also safe for crafters and the environment.
Care and Maintenance Tips for Solid Wood Standing Desks
Dust off the desk top regularly. You can use a microfiber cloth or a feather duster. In case of spills, wipe the liquid immediately. If there are stubborn stains or grime on the table, wipe it off with a damp, soapy cloth and then dry it with a dry microfiber cloth. If your solid wood standing desk is susceptible to insects that may gnaw on it, apply English lemon oil.
Take measures to prevent scratches and dents on the desk top. For instance, if using coasters on the desk top, choose those whose bottom will not cause scratches. Be mindful when using paper clips and scissors to prevent damage. Do not scrub the desk top too aggressively when cleaning. Use a mousepad on the desk.
A solid wood standing desk is practical, excellent quality, and stands out beautifully in your home or office. When choosing one, consider the type of wood used to make it and whether there are any disadvantages.
Also consider factors such as durability, adjustability, whether it is handcrafted, and production sustainability practices among others. When buying a solid wood desktop, choose one that fits your budget, décor, and size needs. With the right choice, you'll have a piece to last a lifetime!
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