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Woodworking/Hard wearing table top


Hi Stuart,
I have been ask buy a customer to make a table. The table structure is not a problem however the table top itself I need some help and advice with.
The table is to be used in an artisan style bakery that will constantly receive a degree of moisture as it will have dough made on it constantly. The table will be cleaned down a lot and probably be get quite a lot of use/abuse in general.
My main concern is the material, I need a timber that will not move with moisture and abuse (obviously the construction will have to be 100% with flawless joints and sealed correctly). The table top size is approx 3m x 1.2m so to large to be made of end grain like a butchers block. I have been told that Maple would be a good choice? I was thinking of ordering some chunky 50mm boards, thicknessing them down a few millimetres and gluing/jointing them together.

Are there any other timbers that have good moisture resistant properties? What would you recommend sealing the finished table with that is food friendly? Due to the use I am guessing after any good clean down regular re-sealing is also key?

Any help and advise much appreciated!
Kind regards

Hi Lee

I wouldn't have gone with Maple myself; Maple can move more than you would like it too. Sometimes I get it and the boards are quite distorted so requires quite a it of machining. There are timbers but I don't know if there are any other factors like colour that you need to consider.

This link will take you to a useful resource tool and help you select the right timber;  TRADA timber database

I use this with my lev 2 bench joinery learners so they can assess and help them select timber for the right situation.

I don't know why but I have notice that in general that timber being supplied is prone  to moving in service. I would recommend getting a moisture meter and check the timber; for your job you want it to be around or under 10% moisture content.

Hope this helps you



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Stuart Mawle


Now been a carpenter & joiner for the past twenty years in the UK. I can give avice / help on carpentry & joinery, health & safety, woodworking machinery, power tools and suppliers.


I have served an indentured carpentry apprenticeship with a medium sized building contractor doing a wide range of domestic and commercial work. This has included office buildings, barn conversions, building extensions and renovations. During my career, I spent over three years as a wood trades technician at a college. My job involved joinery work, wood maching and helping CITB carpentry & joinery students` pratical projects. Spent three years as a accredited NVQ assessor covering site carpentry and bench joinery. Now I teach my skills to others.

Institute of carpenters

I have city and guild qualifications in site carpentry and purpose made joinery. An indentured apprenticeship Hold the equivalent of a master craftsman status.

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