Wooden Desk Top Thickness [Guide For Beginners]

Wooden Desk Top Thickness [Guide For Beginners]

The thickness of a desk matters a lot because it has a direct impact on the overall durability of the desk. Even if there is no variation in materials, the thickness of the same material will make a significant price difference.

Your desk should be thick enough to hold the weight of all the materials on it without bending. Appropriate thickness ensures that the desk does not sag over time.

Deciding the perfect tabletop thickness is a burning question while building a new desk. The following is a guide to understanding the thickness of desks:

Wooden Desk Top Thickness Data Chart

Here is a short chart to include the thickness data of various materials for being used as office desktops.

Type of woodThickness for medium sized desktopsThickness for large sized desktops
Hardwood Plywood18-24 mm26+ mm
Oak18 mm25 mm
MDF20mm26+ mm
Pine18 mm25+ mm
Maple3/4 inch1 inch

Decide According To The Use Of The Furniture

Not all furniture is used in the same way. Some are used for heavy loads and regular tasks, while others are merely decorative pieces. Before you decide on the thickness of any particular furniture, decide what you are going to use it for.

Our main focus is tables and desks. Now, in the case of tables, you have to first decide how much stuff will be on them. An average office desk has to bear the load of multiple devices, files, decorations, etc.

You also have to account for your weight. This is because you are most likely to lean on your desk from time to time. Your desk needs to be strong enough to take all this weight at the same time.

Thickness Will Vary Depending On The Material Used

Different materials have different integrity and durability. Due to this, their thickness differs when completing the same purpose.

Let’s say you are building a desk with pine. For the same thickness, pine will be stronger than MDF or plywood, but it will be less strong compared to oak.

Standard Thickness Does Not Mean The Thickness Of The Final Product

While you look around the market for furniture, you will notice that the standard given thickness does not resemble the thickness of the finished product. A 1-inch thick table-top, for example, might be converted to 0.75 inches, and a 2-inch thick table-top into 1.5 inches thick.

The reason is that “true 1 inch” means the thickness of the wood before it has gone through the milling process. When the production process is completed, the bark is removed from the wood and any other discrepancies with it.

During this process, a significant amount of thickness comes off the wood. That is why the standard thickness is not similar to the final thickness.

The Thickness Depends On The Size Of The Platform

Not all desk sizes are the same. The bigger the size of the desk, the larger the surface of the desk will be. A larger surface area increases the likelihood of bending.

For that reason, bigger desks need thicker wood compared to smaller ones. For comparison, with quality materials, an end table can be built with 3/4-inch thick wood. To build larger furniture items, such as a dining table, you will need 1 inch of thick wood.

Using less thick wood in large desks leaves them vulnerable to sagging. Suppose you are building a large desk but do not want to use extra thick wood, then you have to put a support in the middle.

This can be done by adding a pillar-like structure underneath. You can also use stretchers or metal frames to reinforce the furniture.

What Is The Average Thickness Of Tabletops For Most Materials?

Wood planks go through the milling process before they can be used on the desk. For an ideal desktop with a considerable load, using 1.25-inch to 1.5-inch thick wood is a safe bet. In these cases, however, you must begin with a 2-inch pure wood board.

Wooden Desk Top Thickness [Guide For Beginners]

How Thick Should A Standing Desk Top Be?

Standing desks are not used for heavy loads. Even if the materials differ, standing desks do not require the same thickness as regular office desks. Standing desktops are made of wood that is.75 to 1.25 inches thick.

Another reason is that standing desks are adjustable. Using excessively thick wood on a standing desk makes it harder on the bearings to keep the standing desk at an elevated level.

How Thick Should Table Plywood Be?

Plywood is one of the most common materials that are used to make desks. For regular office desk use, using 18 to 24 mm plywood sheets is sufficient. For softer parts, such as drawers on the desk, using combinations of 6 mm and 12 mm plywood sheets works just fine.

The desk’s top part, aka the surface, is going to take the most load and requires a thicker plywood sheet if you are going to keep heavy things on it. Using plywood sheets too thin might work fine at first, but will bend over time due to the weight.

To keep the plywood from bending, use high-quality plywood at the beginning. There is hardwood plywood available on the market. This plywood is made from hardwood trees such as maple, oak, or birch.

The second option is to simply increase the thickness of the wood. For example, you can choose 5/8-inch hardwood plywood for normal desks. For a desk that will bear more weight, you should pick 3/4-inch hardwood plywood.

What Is The Ideal Thickness For Hardwood Tabletops?

There are many durable hardwood options such as oak, cherry, walnut, etc. There are two standard thicknesses available on the market for these types of wood.

These are 3/4 inch and 1.5 inches in length. 1.5-inch thick hardwoods work best for a tabletop. The thinner version can be used for tabletops, but they are better for the rails and bottom shelves.

Final Words

Knowing the right thickness to use will save you time and money. Now that you have the basics, you need to select your materials carefully. Good quality materials will give you more strength for less thickness.

To get the same strength from lower-quality materials, you have to increase the thickness. The downside to that is the increased weight, which can be a hassle. The balance between the two is the key to getting your perfectly thick desk.

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