Things to consider when purchacing or designing a solid timber dining table

We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to design and build our own home which is thankfully, after 2 years of planning and construction, nearly complete. We went through the design process in the opposite direction to most.  We started with the furniture we wanted, the inbuilt cabinetry and bookcases then designed the house around it!   The "hero piece" for those fans of the block within our dining / living area, is an awesome American Oak and black powder coated leg usable work of art. We went through the process of how many people we wanted to seat, in what configuration and decided on the dimensions of the table and then the space from there.  Here are some aspects to consider when purchasing or designing your new timber dining table


There are many labels for design styles such as lux industrial, glamorous, modern, contemporary, organic, Hamptons or french provincial. Through working together with clients on the design of their furniture over the years, many are concerned whether the new addition will match the rest of their interior.  My advice is simply to find something that you love rather than following what is on trend.  If everything within your home is something that you love, it will all work as each item has you in common.  Just get out of your own way and trust yourself!


Goldilocks and the three bears where onto something, it has to be just right!  The dimensions and proportions of the piece is a very important factor in determining the success of the piece in the overall design.  A dining table that is too big or too small for a space and the chairs just wont look right.  Aside from the design aspect, when determining the size of the table, you need to consider the space where it will go and the access to this final resting place.  It is all good and well to create for example a stunning round dining table with a diameter of 2.5 m but if you can't get it through your doorways, corridors or up your stairs, you are in a bit of trouble!   If you want more information on how to determine dimensions for your dining table for the number of people you want to seat or if it will function in your space, please refer to this blog post


The final aspect to consider is the usability of your new piece of furniture.  Even through we love our timber, we do not have the time or patience needing to be precious about the surface.  It needs to be hard-wearing, easy care, non-toxic and easy to repair.  As a household with 2 young children, our dining table is used often and used hard. With each meal it gets covered with food and treated harshly by the cutlery and crockery.  The timber the dining table is made from as well as the finish determines how easily the surface is damaged and the ease of repair. 

Natural oil and wax finish 

Osmo, the natural oil and wax finish that we use is of the highest quality and creates a surface that is resistant to water and stains as well as penetrating into the timber for further protection.  The surface is easy to maintain with a reapplication of the finish approximately every 3 months or as required.  If the surface is damaged by a scratch, it is easily repaired with a spot reapplication of the wax or spray protector.  Even with the scratch, some protection remains within the timber as the finish penetrates rather than just sitting onto of the surface. If a repair is required, just the damaged section needs to be renovated rather than the whole surface. Click through this link for more information on the maintenance of the finish. 

Two pack finish 

A two pack, polyurethane finish creates a stronger barrier to liquids and stains than an oil and wax finish.  However, when the surface barrier is broken with a scratch or over time with wear, if a liquid gets onto the surface, the finish is ruined and the timber is easily damaged.   Discoloration, staining, flaking and cracking may then develop on the surface and the timber. To repair this kind of damage would require a complete resurface and reapplication of the finish. 

Solid timber

All of our furniture is made from solid hardwood timber without a veneer in sight!  The hardness of the timber decreases the likelihood of the surface being damaged by force for example by a very hungry 1 year old banging his bowl on the table yelling "more" like in our house! We are fortunate to have access to a large range of Australian native hardwood timbers locally in a recycled form.   There is great variety in tone and character to suit the majority of tastes. 


Please contact us here for more information on designing your dream piece of furniture. 

Alison is co-owner of Bombora Custom Furniture and in charge of all things other than making furniture!