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How thick does a solid wood desk top need to be?

Our website offers solid wood desk tops with thicknesses ranging from 18mm to 40mm; all of which can be purchased online with our calculator. (We can work with thinner and thicker wood, just get in touch and we can put a quote together for you.)

This post will talk through the 3 most popular thicknesses: 18mm, 23mm and 25mm; some tips for over 40mm tops, and finally a few frequently asked questions.

If you would like to learn more about different wood types, this post might be helpful.

18mm solid wood

18mm oak and pine is what we use when making our solid wood furniture, i.e. cabinets, book cases, media units. Whilst the density of the oak or pine does not change with thickness, generally when making furniture the size of each individual piece is smaller, so the inherent strength is greater.

18mm thick wood is perfect for smaller desk tops, around 1200Lx800D when the project has limited budget. That said, if the frame offers good support, and the load is not considerable, 18mm thick oak or pine is still very strong, and much stronger than MDF. It would have no trouble supporting a monitor arm, the main concern is if the desk top is quite large, or without edge to edge desk frame support, 18mm oak might show signs of bowing over time.

Caution: A standard thickness for many MDF desk tops is 20mm. Some wood screws that come with the desk frame might be provided on this assumption. Measure the length of the wood screw before screwing into the top, ensuring it is smaller than the desk frame + desk top.

23mm solid wood

Our best selling top thickness. Our furniture is often topped with 23mm thick wood, to give a weightier contrast and better look. The extra 5mm really gives a substantial feel, and our 23mm oak panels often come with the widest staves (individual ‘planks’).

23mm thick solid wood is great for sit / stand desk frames as the weight of the top needs factoring into the load the desk motors can handle. Every calculator product page has an estimated weight next to the price.

23mm thick solid wood should not bow up to around 1.8m of unsupported length, making it a great option for Karlby & Alex style desks.

Tip: Many desk frame weight capacity figures include an MDF top, which you will be removing and so can add that onto the weight limit.

25mm solid wood

If you are looking for that chunky, solid feel then 25mm is a great choice. Beyond 25mm the top thickness starts to become more about the aesthetic than any strength benefit, although a 25mm oak top should not bow up to around 2.8m of unsupported length, so can be a consideration for very large Karlby & Alex set ups. The staves on 25mm oak tend to be narrower than 23mm.

25mm thick tops give you additional options when it comes to edge profile, i.e. a large chamfer, or something custom (undercutting, smoothed for comfort etc).

Note: Longer lengths can be tricky to source, so we may get in touch with an extended lead time.

Note: 27mm oak pictured is currently unavailable, after sanding there is little visible difference between the 25mm and 27mm.

Over 40mm solid wood

Batten supported desk

Depending on the length, we can source thicker solid wood from our suppliers.

Thicker boards however come at a premium and so another option suitable for some desks (especially wall mounted) is to create a lip on the front, giving the impression of extra thickness, as shown in the photo.

We can add lips to desk tops of all sizes and thicknesses, just purchase a shelf and mention in the extras when adding the top to basket that you would like it affixing to the top as a lip.


Will Xmm be strong enough for camera clamps and monitor mounts?

Yes. 18mm and up should support a monitor arm or camera clamp. Oak/walnut will be better than pine at not indenting with the pressure, as they are much harder woods, but all will hold the weight just fine.

Will Xmm bow/need additional support?

  • 18mm oak top should not bow up to around 1m of unsupported length
  • 23mm oak top should not bow up to around 1.8m of unsupported length
  • 25mm oak top should not bow up to around 2.8m of unsupported length

Buy your custom thickness desk top today

If you are sure about the size you want for your desk top, now is the right time to place an order for your solid oak, pine or walnut desk top. View our full range of compatible tops here.

Why Solid Wood Tops?

Custom size? Same price.

Desk top prices are worked out using a going market rate formula. There are no extra charges for non-regular sizes. Calculate your price and order in minutes.


Learn more about our service, the quality of our partners sustainably sourced wood, how desk tops are priced, delivery timescales and more. Read our articles or FAQs.

Flexible delivery options

Our trusted partners are located around the country. Allow us to arrange delivery, pick up from the workshop yourself, or book your own courier.

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