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Pros & cons of using solid pine for desk tops

Choosing the right wood for your project can be a difficult task, especially if you area of expertise is not in furniture or working with wood. We are here to help! We have seen a resurgence in requests for pine desk tops, this post discusses some of the positives and negatives of choosing pine as the solid wood for your desk top.


We have put this one first because we believe that the right wood for your project is not always down to what the available budget is, but what the project requirements are. Perhaps the budget can accommodate a teak surface, or an exotic wood from a far away place, but if the requirements for the top allow for it, using a sustainable, fast growing, comparatively local (and easily traceable) wood like pine could be a good way to do our bit.

Price point

Pine is one of the most affordable woods on the market. With costs increase and availability decreasing for oak and walnut, FSC certified pine is helping our customers reap the rewards of a solid wood top without the higher costs or longer waiting lists.

Character, touch and colour

Gone are the days of knotty unfinished pine furniture (think old Ikea bunk beds). We use top grade mostly knotless pine with a custom stain and sealant to bring out characterful grain with a silky smooth finish. We can provide completely knotless pine at approximately 15% premium, just get in touch to arrange a quote.

Pine accepts stains really well, we can stain pine tops a whole array of colours. Most popular is our standard finish, oak stain and dark oak stain – locking the colour in with our UV protective sealant.

We can also sometimes stain pine to match with any existing furniture you might have, for instance a new oak top would take a long time to develop the aged oak look, but a stained pine top could fit right in. Send us a few pictures of the furniture in natural light, or if possible send us a detachable section of the furniture to match to, and we can get back to you with our thoughts.

Longer staves

Pine grows very tall, making extra long full stave tops easier to source. Sourcing oak or walnut longer than about 2.7m can incur delays, they are highly sought after and as buyers we need to be in the right place at the right time to secure extra long panels.

If your project requires a long bench, pine won’t only be quicker and reliable to source, but it will also be considerably cheaper than other hardwood alternatives.

Thicker staves

Obtaining oak and walnut panels thicker than 40mm can start to get tricky, and very expensive. Extra thick pine furniture panels and individual planks can be sourced relatively easily. If you are looking for a very chunky solid wood top, pine might be the best option. Our calculator offers pine as thick as 40mm, but feel free to enquire if you have something thicker in mind. We can make panels from pine of any thickness on request.


Most pine is classed as a soft wood because of it is possible to dent or make impressions on. However, being a soft wood should not be confused with the weight it can carry. Pine can hold substantial loads, much more than is typically associated with normal use for a desk. Most desks also have good support with cross beams etc. Thicker pine will naturally hold more weight, our post How thick does a solid wood desk top need to be? might be of use.


There is sometimes a misconception that hardwood will outlast a wood classed as soft wood. But pine will be around just as long as oak or walnut furniture when looked after properly. Think of the old pine wardrobes in your Grandma’s house!

Customisable with accessories

Pine takes woods screws easily, and holds onto them really well. This is great when upgrading cable trays or attaching different accessories to go with your solid wood desk top.

Water stains, scratches & scuffs

Because pine is always stained, it is also always sealed. This gives it added protection against spills (How to water proof a solid wood desk: polyurethane, lacquer, OSMO, wax & oil finishes), but also means the top cannot be maintained like an oil finished hard wood (How to repair a damaged area on your solid wood desk top). If the top is water damaged at some point, or scratched, it would be very difficult to colour match the stain and then impossible to reseal just the damaged area.

The top would need to be completely refinished: sanded back, re-stained and re-sealed. This is a job that can be done at home, or we can help. Thankfully the sealant will protect the top from most spills, and tops are infrequently damaged to the point that a refinish is required.

Monitor mounts & camera clamps

A common use case for requiring a solid wood top is to attach heavy equipment, MDF or IKEA desk tops often struggle with monitor mounts and camera clamps. Pine tops will be able to handle the weight, and most of the time can accept a clamp. However, we have noticed that some clamps (ones with a small point of contact with the top) can indent the wood. To avoid this, we can provide two 18mm solid oak sections which can be used top and bottom of the desk top to protect it free of charge, just ask for “clamp protectors” in the order notes at checkout when buying a pine top.

Buy your pine desk top today

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