Table Top Hardwoods
The Top 5 table top hardwoods are hard maple, white oak, mahogany, cherry and walnut. They are also the most widely available in the united states. Ultimately we did not give a ranking in order of the top 5 table top hardwoods. It completely depends on your needs and what your client expects in their project.
From north eastern North America. Unlike most other hardwoods, the sapwood of Hard Maple lumber is most commonly used rather than its heartwood. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color, sometimes with a golden or reddish hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown. When working with hard maple be sure to have the tool speed set lower. Use a test piece to make sure it will not burn the wood. Maple burns easily when the tool speed is too high. Finally, when staining we recommend using a conditioner on the wood to prevent blotching. This will help to deliver a smooth even finish.
From the eastern United States. The heartwood is a light to medium brown. The sapwood is hard to distinguish from the heartwood with oak sometimes as the colors are very similar. When working with oak it is important to note the shrinkage values of the wood. Be sure to have low moisture content in the wood before you begin working or you will be faced with possible warping of the board. Stains and glue stick well with white oak. We recommend testing out the stain before applying on a piece of scrap. We like to sometimes just give this wood a nice oil based clear coat and enjoy its natural beauty.
More specifically Honduran Mahogany. Mahogany tends to darken color with age but typically has a reddish to pinkish brown color to it. Mahogany is a tuff wood and can dull your blades faster than most other woods you will work with. Be mindful of this if you are making many cuts. As much as it may dull your blade it is actually fairly easy to sand this wood. Mahogany does glue up nicely as well and creates a tight bond. The finish with mahogany always looks fantastic and smooth with stain or without.
From eastern North America. Cherry is interesting in color as it darkens over time with exposure to light from a light brown to a medium reddish brown. Cherry is known for the overall workability as it cuts well and is stable. People run into problems when attempting to stain cherry wood because of blotching. This wood is used in a lot of fine furniture. As you may know its definitely not the cheapest wood you can find, but always gives professional results.
Black Walnut comes from the eastern United States. The color of heartwood walnut is very distinguishable. From a light grayish brown to a dark brown with even darker brown streaks in it. Sapwood from walnut can be almost white. Easy to work with, walnut does however have problems with tear out from using a planer on it. Make sure your tools are sharp to help prevent issues. Walnut glues nicely and is used in many high end pieces. Very rarely is walnut stained as it is plenty dark and has so much natural beauty to enjoy. One of our favorite choices for table top hardwoods. Sometimes just out of price range for some clients as walnut does not come cheap!