What material is your kitchen table?

cottonpennyAugust 26, 2012

I'm sort of starting the search for a kitchen table for our new house.

I really want a trestle table, with either a wood or wrought iron base. Ideally, with a wood top.

But I need to be practical. I envision this as the place where we'll eat most meals, where my son will do art projects, homework, etc. I don't want to deal with a table cloth, and I expect that it will get crumbs, spills, splatters, and that glasses will sweat on it. So it needs to be durable and easy to clean.

Are any wood tops durable enough for this kind of activity? If I got one with a distressed finish, would that give me some leeway? How do I tell if I'm going to get rings from glasses or not?

Or, should I give up the idea and look for something in glass or solid surface? It's not my favorite look, but it would drive me and my family nuts to stress over the kitchen table.

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I have a corian top on my wood pedestal table base. We have had it for more than 15 years. Never any worry about rings, or spills. Clean up is easy. Just spray with Fantastic or similar product. It is a light color corian in a matte finish. There has not been any staining. Had the top buffed out a few years ago to get rid of some scratches that had been acquired over the years. Made it look brand new. There are lots of people who do not like Corian but I love it for my table. Didn't mind it for my counters either. I do keep the leaf in it all the time because it is heavy to maneuver.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Mine is formica, but looks exactly like the maple of the chairs and legs on the table.
After having a fromica table for years, brought it with me from my first apartment, I did not want to get used to a wood top, especially while raising my two daughters.
I lucked out in finding this table upstate. It fooled me! I was so happy to hear that the top was formica.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:03PM
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I have an old table that kicked around my husband's family for years. I believe it's maple. I refinished it in 1981, my first ever refinishing project, and not my finest. Since then it has had all kinds of abuse hurled its way. It's never been babied. Glasses have been set down on it without coasters. No rings in evidence. There are scratches, but very unnoticeable.

This table/chairs set isn't really my style. I think it's generally got that Early American look, lots of little turned pieces, etc. I want to replace it but I know I'll be hard-pressed to find something so indestructible.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:21PM
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Where can I find a table with a non-wood top? I've seen Parsons tables available with different tops, but I really wanted a trestle.

I wonder if I used a wood countertop and finished it like a countertop (tung oil), would that be durable enough? Then I'd just have to find someplace to buy legs.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I have a great room concept - no formal dining room, so my "kitchen" table is hand carved oriental rosewood. I protect the top with glass. Have you thought about getting the table you want and getting a piece of glass cut to fit over the top? You'd have the ease of glass when you clean and you'd get the look you want.

As far as your other idea - what about ikea? You can buy trestle type legs (Ikea used to sell them but I'm not sure if they still do) and use an oiled butcherblock countertop. If it's good for a counter, it should be fine for a table, right?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:28PM
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Ours predates our marriage. DH bought it when he was single at a now-gone Scandinavian Design type store. It is teak and has an inner core that pops up if you want to expand it.
The inner core is made of a black material so you can set hot things on it (not sure what the material is).

Looks something like:

Here is a link that might be useful: scandinavian design pop up dining table

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Mine is also teak, but imported from Indonesia. It's top is a solid piece, i.e. not made of boards or planks. It's got natural deviations in it. Dips and flat parts. It gets rings, which I take out with Old English stain. If I chose, I could softly sand this anytime, but no.

If you had a top that was wood and your main concern is rings, seal with with something like my favorite Australian Teak Oil, or there's one I can't recall that actually just soaks in. It doesn't protect the wood from time's changes, but does seal it from water penetration. I read about it on GW, but can't recall where. Probably Woodworking.

If you're looking for a trestle, authenticity will have scratches, dings, nicks, and yes, glass rings. If you want a perfect table like it sounds you do, synthetic material or glass is your best bet.

Frankly, I would kill myself over trying to keep glass clean. Fingerprints and cat prints drive me nuts on mirrors, car windows, drinking glasses, etc. I couldn't deal with leaning on a cold glass table and God forbid, leaving arm prints from cream on my skin or something.

But we all have our "thing" don't we?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:30AM
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My kitchen table is made of my cab wood. It's 30 x 51 to fit an enclosed space It is getting scratched now but I expected it. One year old. Still looks good and functions pretty well as our eat-in area, my desk, place for computer, and where to sit when we tv watch in the kitchen. We're empty nesters. We wish it were twice or more as large. But we have a relatively small room at 10 x18. If we hate it in the future, we can replace. It is not cherished.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:00AM
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Ours is made of pine - it's super solid but scratches pretty easily on the top. I keep olive oil handy to rub out the scuffs and you can't really tell they were there after.
I wanted a trestle so bad but our dinette area didn't allow for one (wouldn't be room for the seating we need).
Good luck! :)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 5:43PM
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My table is currently in storage because we're renovating. However, it's mahogany with a spar varnish on the top. It's very durable, doesn't get water rings, and so far, knock on wood, hasn't scorched from a hot pan or anything.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 5:57PM
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For the last 28 years my kitchen table was oak with tabletop oil finish. For about 20 years, it didn't scratch (except where dd carved her name with a fork) and water didn't penetrate, and I cleaned it every day with a wet washcloth. The finish finally started wearing about 8 years ago and now it needs to be refinished.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Ours is wood - solid oak - and we have had it for over 25 years including using it for most family meals with our 3 sons growing up. It's had many glasses, plates, etc. on it because we normally don't use a table cloth. The finish is finally showing its age and probably some day will need to be refinished but it's a very durable table.

Our dining room table is teak almost 40 years old. Most of the top is a veneer with a band of solid teak around the edge. It spent a few years as our only table before we got a house with a kitchen table. After that, it usually had table cloths on it when used for a meal, but sometimes snacks or drinks sit on it without that. If examined closely one can see that there is a tiny sliver or two where the veneer has chipped where the table opens to put the leaves in. There are some dings from many years of family life. But it is still pretty presentable.

A solid top in one of the harder woods like oak or maple should hold up well with a good finish.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:55PM
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My table is over 30 years old--one of those with a formica top that's supposed to resemble oak. It's time (past time) to update the look. I'm not sure what to get...wood with a piece of glass to protect it? I'd prefer wood with a protective finish (polyurethane?), but I haven't seen anything like that. I'm interested to read what others have found.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 3:01AM
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My kitchen table is antique QS oak. It's actually called a studio table as its a small square with leaves on both ends that slide out from underneath to form a small rectangle. My Dad bought it and refinished it for me when I went off to my college apartment 23 years ago. The finish is showing its age and will now show watermarks if a glass of ice water sits on it for too long. It needs to be stripped and refinished, but I'm not sure what it's future holds so I haven't done it. It won't be able to stay in our kitchen once we get the banquette made as it has regular legs in the corners instead of the center or a trestle-the arrangement, meaning the legs don't work in a banquette. Although I'd like to keep it to pass on to the kids someday as it is valuable and has sentimental meaning, I'm not sure we have space for it in the house.

My DR table is QS oak. I bought it as an antique, but when they went to refinish it and make some new leaves for it they realized the top couldn't be saved. The legs are original, but the top and all the leaves were newly constructed. I assumed (won't do that again) that it would be finished like my kitchen table and didn't ask. It wasnt. They applied something on it that reminds me of poly. It's very protective and I don't get watermarks or stains, but it looks fake-ish to me compared to my other oak antiques.

Here it is with most of the leaves in acting as my reno/GC desk in our temporary housing.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:41AM
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I found a pic of the kitchen table! You can see it, leaves tucked under, up against the island where the banquette will go someday. The legs aren't visible enough to see the gorgeous and simple fluting.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:47AM
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We just had our table delivered last week. I had a trestle table made from reclaimed barn boards with an epoxy coating that is supposed to last forever. There are two coats of satin polyeurethane over the epoxy to tone down the table a bit. It wasn't cheap but we love it and expect it will last many, many years.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 5:34AM
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We have had this teak kitchen table for over 20 years and twice a year I use teak oil on it. It makes it look like brand new.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:31AM
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Hi Cottonpenny, we're in the same boat! We found a local guy who makes tables from new or reclaimed wood. He told me that many of his clients have the table made, beat it up with kids, and then after 5-10 years he'll refinish it for them. If it's real wood, it shouldn't be a problem. I figure that's what I'll do - get the look I love, with the exact size I need (a lot of the pretty ones from stores are the wrong size for my space), and try not to worry about it too much. You can use placemats or large plastic thin cutting boards for heavy-duty art projects and Playdoh!
If you do not need a custom size, maybe try Restoration Hardware? They have all kinds of interesting tops online. Here's a zinc-top trestle table. I love it - it must be heavy to move. I have no idea how to maintain a zinc tob table - anyone know? Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: zinc top trestle table

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Late to this party- for ~ 30 years (circa 1974) when the kids were growing up, we had a round, maple pedestal table from Ethan Allen with a formica top that matched. That thing was indestructable. Great for dinners, projects, etc. We moved it once, and then it went to DD's house and got grandchildren use (2 boys-think lots of Thomas trains on that table for awhile). Then we had a table very similar to Breezy's oak table-found at an antique store in Delaware and had it shipped to WA state. That had to go when we remodeled the kitchen-no room for a "kitchen" table. During all this time, well from 1980 on, we also had a dining room table that was from my parents' house (circa 1965 or so). It is solid pecan, and is now the only table we have. I just this year got a good table pad for it, but it has really held up well. I have to say I don't put hot things or wet things on it directly, and it doesn't exactly "match" or go with the style of our kitchen (whatever that is), but it has such sentimental value and is beautiful wood.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:18PM
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I have a butcher block pedestal base table in our vacation rental. It's been there for 20 years and still looks great. It has a oil finish that I reapply every so often.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 12:25PM
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My kitchen table is an oak trestle with a laminate top and when we went shopping for it 25 years ago, I knew that was what I wanted. I still remember being at a store where I told the saleman what I was looking for, and he shows me only tables that I felt were more for a formal dining room with wood tops. When I repeated what I was after, he told me that would not be as good for resale. (Translation: I don't have what you want.) ??? I'm shopping for a KITCHEN TABLE- resale is not even on the radar, then, now or ever. I still remember that because it was probably the most bizarre comment I have ever heard from any salesperson, and I have done alot of shopping over the years.

My table serves as the landing spot for grocery bags, backpacks and car keys. A real wood top would look too beat up for my liking. Every so often I try to convince myself that I could be a tablecloth/placemat person, but when it doesn't stay clean for more than 2 days, I go back to nothing more than a seasonal centerpiece and call it a day.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 1:03PM
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