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Shopping for Quality Wooden Office Desks can be frustrating. 

To the untrained eye, all wooden furniture can look the same, making it a frustrating shopping experience for those looking for a solid wood table to last them for many years to come. Even wooden furniture made of poor-quality materials can be made to imitate the look of real natural timber, so what should we look out for? 

Real Vs ‘Fake’ Wooden Desks

When people refer to ‘fake’ wood, they are usually referring to veneer wood, which is a thin layer of wood glued to a wooden board. This mimics the look and feel of natural wood, despite the desk not being made entirely of solid timber. 

Most modern manufacturers combine veneer and solid wood for a better imitating effect – it helps make furniture lighter, cheaper, and allows for more flexible designs like edge banding that would be impossible to achieve with solid wood. 

Balak’s Meja has a 100% solid wood tabletop. 

Differentiating Solid Wood Vs Veneered Wood

Feature 1: Weight

Solid wood is usually heavier than a veneered piece. 

Feature 2: Carvings

Carved details usually mean that a piece is made of solid wood 

Feature 3: Matching grain & edge banding

Touch the desk, are you able to feel the grain? You should, if it was made of solid wood. Observe the direction of the wood grain, if the grain on the side does not match to the edge of the top, it could be veneered. 

Veneered pieces also have edge banding to cover up the unfinished edge of the veneer. 

Feature 4: Uniform appearance 

Veneered computer tables have a more uniform appearance while solid wood is less ‘finished. For example, unfinished parts (stud pieces) on hidden sides, such as the underside or back of the furniture. 

Before investing in a piece of furniture, ask the salesperson if the office desk you intend to buy is completely solid wood, fully veneered, or part-solid and part-veneered! This way, you’ll also be able to judge the pricing, weight, quality, and care methods properly. 

balaks meja soul product image main
Balak’s Meja Soul has a ‘live edge’, which gives a more rugged look. 

Table Summary

Solid wood tableNon 100% solid wood
MaterialFully made of timberSolid wood and veneer 
Carving designsCan be doneNon-applicable
GrainGrain can be felt, same across tableGrain on the edge does not match top
FinishOften have ‘unfinished’ sidesUniform, finished appearance on all sides
Edge bandingNoYes

How to Identify High-Quality Wooden Desks

Now that you’re able to distinguish solid wood and veneered wood, there comes a next question: how would I pick a high-quality piece of solid-wood furniture? 

This depends on your needs, is the desk for something short-term, or do you envision it to be something long-term that your family will use every day? 

Wood species

Different woods have different hardness and density, which is measured on the Janka Hardness scale. The higher the number, the more resistant the wood is to denting and wear. Softer wood types are more vulnerable to nicks and scratches. 

Sturdier wood: Black Walnut (1010 rating), White Oak (1360 rating) 

Softer wood: White pine (420 rating), Poplar (540 rating)

Reasonable imperfections

Ensure that knots, cracks, and voids are reasonable and treated properly, e.g. filled with resin or filler. High-quality, premium lumber will be clean of serious imperfections, and existing imperfections are treated appropriately. 


The best wooden furniture should have a high-quality, premium finish that is reasonably waterproof. With Balak’s desks, momentary spills and water shouldn’t be a problem but you are advised to wipe dry when possible. Good finishing also offers scratch resistance where the table can hold up against reasonable levels of daily wear and tear. 

Rest assured that Balak’s Meja and Meja Mini are made of quality wood with durable finishing.


Now that you’ve learned about the basics of identifying quality wooden desks, it is time to explore! A good way to know about the furniture you’re planning to buy is to ask the salesperson, who should be knowledgeable to assist you in your decision. 

A Little About BALAK’s 

A proud homegrown brand from Penang, BALAK’s focuses on manufacturing quality ergonomic standing desks. During our 35 years of experience in the industry, we have strived to attain the delicate balance between traditional craftsmanship, technological innovation, and accessible pricing, honouring raw materials as gifts of nature. Here, we use our knowledge of traditional craftsmanship with a modern twist to promote comfort and convenience.

Interested in Balak’s solid wood tables? Shop our collection of height-adjustable solid wood desks here now!

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