If you’re sick of producing work that isn’t up to your standard then by the end of this article you’ll know which types of wood you’ll need to finally grab the Nobel Laureate prize.
Sometimes the workman must blame his tools. It’s not often, but it does happen. This is one of those times. You’ve produced some outstanding pieces of work in the past (you’ve even won prizes, dammit) but there’s something holding you back at the moment.
Unfortunately, that something is your desk. You know it, I know it – let’s do something about it.
I’ve had my fair share of crappy desks in the past and that includes both poor craftsmanship and poor aesthetics.
I now champion the rights of the high-quality desk and I will until the end of time. Someone find me a placard.
Problems with most wooden desks
Those of us that have worked from home a lot appreciate how difficult it can be. It all comes down to distractions.
I spent 6 months working at home a few years ago and the discipline needed is massive compared to working in an office. You’ve managed to stay away from Reddit or from the weekend’s sports news so the last thing you need are creaking, sticky drawers and unsteady legs.
You need a desk that improves your work
If you still defend the ancient art of writing via pen and onto paper, it’s essential you have a desk which pushes back with an equal force. There’s nothing worse than writing on a desk that’s chipboard wrapped in a veneer finish as you feel yourself carving your work into the very desk itself.
Buying a solid wooden desk is going to improve your work, there’s no doubt.
It’s also going to improve your mood when you wake up and see a dedicated working space that you actually want to spend a working day at. Make no mistake, you should be spending that much time there if you’re going to make the big time.
What makes a wood high quality?
You need a wood that’s tough and durable. Above all else you need to make sure these qualities are taken care of so you can guarantee you’ll create your best work.
There’s a probability that you don’t know what the two terms refer to though:
This is measured by Janka hardness testing and describes how well a wood is at resisting scratches and dents.
The number recorded is the amount of pounds-force needed to implant half the diameter of a 0.444″ (11.28mm) steel ball into the wood.
Basswood (soft) ****has a hardness of 410 lbf
White Oak (medium) has a hardness of 1,360 lbf
Lignum Vitae (very tough) has a hardness of 4500 lbf
I used to think that durability and toughness were interchangeable but durability is actually a measure of how well a wood can withstand natural decay.
A necessary consideration unless you’re happy with a rotten desk.
Color and grain
Wood varies in natural color and grain depending on the species. Even within the same species, there are plenty of differences that will add so much depth of character to your desk you’ll be able to write a novel on that alone.
There are many species of wood that can together, you don’t need to concern yourself with getting the same type of wood as you have for other pieces of furniture in the room.
Negatives of high-quality wood
Whether we like it or not, there are compromises in every part of our lives. This compromise concerns itself with the cost of wood.
The premium, most sought after woods are expensive, some very expensive.
The way I look at it is this: you already have a desk somewhere in the world and you’re needing another one.
The cheaper your desk, the sooner you’re going to have to buy a new one and spend more money than you’d have done by getting the top standard anyway.
I also want to produce my best work and produce it from minute one and these woods are the only way that can be achieved.
The best kinds of wood for desks
Let’s have a look at the species that are going to excel as desks.
Cherry is a fantastic wood, it’s tough and will withstand a bombardment of unavoidable attempted scratches should they come its way.
Is there a higher recommendation than the White House?
It’s unlikely and yet in the Roosevelt Room there’s a table made from Cherry. They aren’t making tables out of just any old wood, are they?
If you’re a fan of subtlety, you’ll love the straight grain shooting through the wood. It doesn’t need to show off you see, its look speaks for itself.
The reddish coloration (handy for the name) makes it a very desirable wood for desks. The brightness of newly worked cherry will darken and mellow over time.
Oak is the most grown hardwood in the United States which is proportional to its popularity as a furniture wood.
It’s everywhere you look and for good reason. It does a brilliant job.
You’ll find either Red Oak or White Oak on the shop floor, with White Oak the more durable of the two and of course lighter than its red cousin.
Its abundance is good for its price. There’s more than enough to go around and so it’s more affordable than many other species with comparative qualities.
Oak doesn’t damage easily, as we’d expect from this article. In fact, I’d put money on the desk outlasting you if you treat it with the respect it deserves.
Watch out for Oak veneer. They’re a dime a dozen and won’t aid you in writing the presentation for your boss that doesn’t understand how long it takes to put something of this magnitude together.
Walnut is a chocolate-brown wood with a beautiful, predominantly straight grain.
Dyed Walnut will still look sophisticated, but you will lose a lot of the grain and ultimately what makes each desk different.
Walnut is becoming rarer by the year. This raises the price which is something to be aware of when deciding if you want your desk made from it.
The shape of Walnut holds for years and is ideal for those who love ornate desks.