Wood Table Tops Guide

Fine dining restaurant furniture

Wood is by far the most common material used in the world. Almost any type of wood can be used to build and design restaurant furniture. Each wood type possesses its unique characteristics adding different degrees of color, style, dimensions and warmth thus putting emphasis and beauty to most décor themes. This guide will further elaborate on the various type of wood and its characteristics as well as materials used to build restaurant tables.

Different Wood Species

Selecting the right species to design your wood table top can be cumbersome. Especially if you don’t know what the species are nor know what to look for. There are a myriad of choices of table tops needed to create restaurant tables available in the market.

Understandingly, choosing the ideal wood table top can be quite intimidating. When searching for the best type of wood that suites your needs the most, you will discover that there isn’t the best kind of wood alone. Much depends on the grain, hardness, strength, look among many other factors including the commercial environment in which these wood tables are used.

Hardwood Table Top vs Softwood Top

A dining table is typically the focal point of every restaurant so naturally you would be looking for a restaurant table that is mostly made of hardwood. Hardwood comes from broad deciduous trees as opposed to softwood from conifer trees. Wood table tops made from hardwood are more resistant to years of wear and tear. Hardwoods are comparatively darker in color whereas softwoods have lighter shades. Because they are longer lasting than softwood, hardwood is comparatively more expensive.

Because hardwood is commonly used in most commercial grade furniture, the popular choices of wood species used for these restaurant tables in industrial, rustic, mid-century and traditional restaurant décor themes are beech, maple and oak. If you are looking for a lightweight and more affordable option, wood table tops made from softwood species such as pine may be what you need. Though softwoods are cheaper, they aren’t as durable and they dent easily.

Wood Type Wood Species
Hardwoods Beech, Maple, Oak, Ash, Mahogany, Rubberwood
Softwoods Pine, Spruce, Cedar
Wood type and characteristics

Wood Type and Use

Equipping your venue with the right furniture entails a delicate balance of choosing materials for restaurant tables that are stylish, affordable, and durable. You may take a liking towards the glossy and timeless look of a plank wood table top though it may be too pricey for you. However, you may find a laminated table top to be more budget friendly and economical with little maintenance required.

You may wonder if the level of durability matches up with other wood table tops. The table below describes the types of wood table tops available and their characteristics:

Solid Wood, Veneer and Laminate Comparison

Table Top Construction Type Maintenance Affordability
Solid Wood Solid wood construction with various types of edges Easy to refinish, repair, sand and stain to conceal damages Comes with a more upfront cost but won't need to be replaced as much and can be refinished time and again
Veneer The core would be usually made out of manufactured wood such as plywood with a thin layer of wood veneer on top and edges Warp resistant retaining its look long term Moderately priced though costing more than laminate tables but less than solid wood tables
Laminate Similar core as veneer with a laminated sheet on the surface. Edge type may vary (see below) Made to resist heat, spills and scratches, hard to conceal over-time damages and scratches Affordable, easy to clean and low maintenance
wood table tops available and their characteristics

Wood Table Edges

There are many types of edges available for wood restaurant tables. The most popular and practical table edges are the bullnose, waterfall and eased.

  • Bullnose - Rounded table edge, normally with a radius that is half of the table top thickness. For example, if the table is 1 1/2" thick, the radius would be ~3/4". The bullnose table edge has a classic look.
  • Eased - The term eased edge refers to a slightly radiused profile and does not exceed 1/16”. It tends to be more polished and tempered to create a clean look.
  • Waterfall - The waterfall edge is somewhat of a combination of the Bullnose and Eased edges with part of the edge being rounded followed by a straight edge.
Restaurant Wood Tables Edges

Laminate Tables – Types and Edges

If you are unsure of what wood table top to get, the table below specifies the differences between the various options available:

Self Edge Laminate Table Top

Self Edge

The edge would match the laminate on the surface of the table.
T Mold Laminate Table Top

T Mold

Rubber edging, usually in black.
Inlay Laminate Table Top


1 1/2" nominal wood edge. The wood edge can be stained in various finishes.
Overlay Laminate Table Top


3/8" nominal wood edge. Can be stained in various finishes.
Aluminum Edge Laminate Table Top


Aluminum edge, shiny, mostly used with diner booths to achieve a retro look.

Solid wood is comparatively more expensive than laminate but adds warmth and gives your restaurant a more upscale look. You can find butcher block and plank among our collection of solid wood table tops.

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