A Wood Writing Desk: All You Need To Know

by CJ McDaniel // January 20  

A typical wood writing desk is one made of wood. It usually has four legs to hold it up. You can also call a wood writing desk a library desk, school desk, or office deskIt is a desk often used for writing and reading.

We can trace the use of wood writing desk back to the 17th century, but today, it is still relevant. Wood writing desk has evolved over the years, coming in different shapes, forms and sizes. And the flat surface which provides a good surface for writing remains constant.

In this post, we shall discuss wood writing desk in details. So, continue reading.

Origin Of The Wood Desk

The word “desk” originated from a modern Latin word desca, meaning table to write on. It was a modification of the old Italian word Desco. Initially, the desk arose around the mid-14th century. Other desk names are counter, reading stand, school desk, workspace, or writing desk.

Origin Of Writing Desk

As far back as the 15th century, the wood writing desk was popularly used in places like Rome, Greece, and England. But there’s no specific claim on the wood writing desk’s exact origin.

About The Writing Desk

Writing desks are pieces of furniture with flat surfaces used in schools, offices, homes. The general use is for academic and domestic activities. They also hold materials and equipment that facilitates academic, professional, and domestic processes.

Usually, a writing desk contains one or more drawers and compartments to store writing supplies and papers. You use different materials in the making of a writing desk. The most common include wood, metal, glass, and rubber. In most cases, people sit at a desk, either on a separate chair or in a built-in chair. Just as seen with chairs used by students in primary or secondary schools.

History Of Wood Writing Desk

Writing desks were simple pieces of furniture used for writing as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries. They are usually rectangular with square tapering legs. They originally had sloping tops.

The sloping tops made up the entirety of early desks. They had widespread use in universities and monasteries before the invention of the printing press that led to the production and reading of books in large volumes. The invention led to the evolution of desks into desk box, as it includes drawers in them.

These writing desks usually had their surfaces made of polished wood. They also had drawers designed in them. Industrialization and office space sharing led to the development of desks that two people can share with drawers to both sides.

John Loughlin invented the school desk in Ohio, before it started trending. The design of this school desk is the one with an attached chair. It’s the kind seen in the average elementary school today.

The desk attached to the chair served a dual purpose and was big enough for two to three children to sit on. Loughlin’s idea was a success because the United States enacted public school laws that contributed to its popularity.

In Loughlin’s original desk plan, there was no provision for lockers. Still, with the evolution of education to writing papers and owning textbooks from skate primers, the need for a place to keep students’ papers, books, and textbooks arose.

It led to the desk’s evolution with fancy chairs attached which more than one child could use. It also led to personal desks with cubicles underneath the top of the desk. The wood style of writing desk continued till the 1960s when manufacturers started preferring steel and chrome to the expensive woods that had been in use.

Types Of Wood Writing Desk

There are two categories of a writing desk. One type falls under domestic use, and the other falls under commercial use. Wood writing desk for domestic purposes requires much ornamenting. Lesser ornamenting goes in for the wood writing desk, except on special order by the client.

Woods Used For Making Wood Writing Desk.

In making a wood writing desk, you need to consider your hand’s weight and the materials you plan to put on the desk. It is important to use solid wood material in making your wood writing desk.

Furthermore, hardwoods are the ideal woods used for producing wood writing desk. They are durable and beautiful. It is what makes them in high demand for the wood writing desk market.

You can use solid wood materials to make a solid wood writing desk: cheery wood, maple, elm, rosewood, and cedar.

You can also resort to cheaper alternatives like plywood. In all, you must also consider your desired life span for the desk.

Cheery wood:

It is arguably the most expensive wood used in desk making. It has had its appeal since middle age, making it an expensive desk. It is either light brown in colour or a deep reddish-brown.

The cheery wood deepens in colour over time, making it a popular product. It has a unique grain unlike other wood types.


The Elmwood has red streaks. However, it is usually light brown. The Elmwood is also in the rank of costly wood but comes in handy to create different products.

Maple wood:

It is famous for the density of its fibres. It combines of brown and red nuances. The maple wood is solid. It is the best option for a desk when you want it to last long. Rosewood: Rosewood is very hard to find and is extremely expensive. If you are looking for hardwood for your desk, it is a go-to wood. Most rosewood types come from China, Africa, or Thailand.

Teak wood:

The wood is golden-yellow. It is beautiful to behold but has a downside to it. Its color fades if it is open todirect sunlight.

Walnut wood:

Walnut wood is such an excellent wood, classic. It is currently king in the fashion trend of wood desks. The beautiful side is that stains look good on it. Based on its beauty, longevity, and efficiency, it is in high demand and very expensive.


The wood is an excellent option because of it can carry lots of weight. The oak wood makes a solid piece of furniture. The best description for this wood is beautiful and timeless.


The ashwood is light-coloured type of hardwood. It is robust and used for work. Also, it gives a beautiful, clean and modern look. It is a very affordable and ideal when you want to save cost.


The cedar is a top choice wood with a lot of history. It has an aromatic profile. There are available at reasonable prices compared to the oak wood.


Here is a kind of wood that you could use for making a desk. It is usually light blond. Although, it could also come in red-brown variations.


It is usually white. The pinewood is a lightweight wood. Although, you could also have light brown variations.


From large trees you get mahogany wood. It is usually cut in large pieces and found that way in the wood market. Mahogany is typically more expensive than the other types of wood. It makes your desk to become a beautiful timeless piece.


Plywood is not the best wood to use for a desk, but it can be a good alternative. It comes at a fair price in wood shops.

Uses Of The Wood Writing Desk

The wood writing desk is for writing. A writer will tell you that the right desk can inspire creativity and work productivity. Outside writing, though, it gives a touch of sophistication to any space it occupies.

You can also place your laptop on a writing desk. It is a suitable place for sitting while updating a daily organizer. Generally, the wood writing desk is a very versatile piece of furniture. You can use it for anything.

Cost Of Wooden Writing Desk

There is no fixed cost for a wood writing desk. A variety of factors determine its price per time, such as the specifications of the desk needed, the materials used, the urgency of its preparation, where it is purchased, etc.

Advantages Of The Wood Writing Desk

The wood writing desk is usually very durable. They last longer than glass and other ornamental writing tables. The cost of production is generally lesser too.

Wood writing desk transcends many centuries. It is safe to say that no matter the style in vogue, you know it won’t go out of fashion. It will also serve as furniture in any space it is.


Wood writing desks are essential, and will remain so for years to come. They serve as great furniture pieces for homes, offices, schools, and public spaces. You could also get one as a gift item for your writer friends. They would love it.

Choose a wood writing desk is an important decision. Your writing desk can affect how you work. With the desk, you achieve more in record time. You also have to consider the size of the space you have to for your wood writing desk before making final decision.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!