A solid wood dining table is elegant no doubt. But, after years of water and coffee spills, there will be visible stains. We opted for black granite with solid acacia frame and legs, and we have no regrets.
It wasn’t an easy decision. We always wanted a solid wood dining table because we know just how long-lasting it is. I especially wanted a tabletop made with a single slab of wood with irregular edges that followed the natural contours of the tree trunk. Live edge, it’s called. But, you know, there were practical considerations.
Our old dining table was solid wood that came with a glass top. And I’ve always hated the glass top. But when we had that old dining set custom made, the furniture maker was adamant about the glass. Without it, she said, the wood would be ruined.
She had a point, I know. The problem was that dirt accummulated between the glass and the wood. As I always knew it would. I grew up with a dining table like that. Beautiful wood covered with clear glass.
The glass top that was fashionable during my grandmother’s time
At my grandparents’ house, and at my parents’ house too (even at my in-laws’ house), a tablecloth separated the glass from the wood. Sandwiched would be the more accurate term.
The glass was temporarily removed, a tablecloth was spread on the wood then the glass was repositioned carefully so that the overhang around the table was of uniform length. It was a semi-annual ritual. The tablecloth was changed before the flurry of the Christmas season and, again, sometime in the middle of the year. Or maybe they did it when the tablecloth was visibly too filthy.
I never really understood it. Maybe it was a 50s and 60s thing. You know. Fashion. Still, the logic escaped me. Wasn’t the purpose of a tablecloth to protect the table from inevitable spills during meals? Why bother with a beautiful solid wood top if a tablecloth hid it all the time save for the occasions when the glass was removed to be cleaned?
I never sandwiched a tablecloth between the wood and glass top of our old dining table but, yes, Speedy and I lifted the bloody glass time after time to wipe and scrape off the grit underneath especially around the edges. It was back-breaking work and it was accident-prone. I swore that I would never do that again.
So, when we started looking at solid wood dining tables, any discussion about a glass top was off the table, so to speak. No glass. And that raised issues.
A solid wood dining table is like a high maintenance mistress
I used to have an eight-foot long solid wood study table. No glass on top. Over time, stains from water and coffee spills collected. That was also true of our old coffee table in the living room. Well, on the coffee table, there were more stains from cocktails drinks than water and coffee. On a dining table, soups and oily sauces get spilled too.
Of course, with constant care and attention, stains can be removed. But this isn’t Downton Abbey where there’s an army of servants. The reality is that, as elegant and as durable a solid wood dining table may be, it also requires a lot of attention to maintain its looks. It’s a high maintenance mistress.
So, we looked at alternatives. And I thought about granite. Well, why not? I’ve seen beautiful marble dining tables on the web and that was how I got the idea. Marble is more porous than granite so it will be more high maintenance too. Not to mention the higher price tag.
Granite is practical. And it can be elegant too.
My husbamd, Speedy, and I agreed on granite. It’s easy to clean. Coffee spills? No problem. Just wipe with a damp cloth after every meal and that’s it. Only minor issues remained. What color? And what about the frame and legs?
The original plan was a white dining table. Color-coordinated with the kitchen tops. But I backtracked. Wouldn’t that make the house look like a cemetery? White stone everywhere?
Black granite was Speedy’s choice. He likes the “industrial” feel of black. But he didn’t want black granite with shiny specks — the kind so popular as kitchen countertops in the Philippines. He chose something called Absolute Nero. The specks are so fine they’re hardly visible. Really classy.
And the table frame and legs? You have to have a frame on which to attach the granite, right? And the legs have to be attached to that frame. Speedy wanted black metal. Iron. But it would have to be custom made and that meant more delays. The granite had already been ordered and a date for the installation had been scheduled. Was the black granite going to gather dust while we looked for a metal fabricator?
So, on a gamble, we went back to the store where we almost bought a solid wood dining table. Lucky us, there was a ready-made solid wood acacia frame that was just the right size for the granite top. We paid for it right there and then. The delivery truck was just a few minutes behind us. I was soooo happy.
How’s the black granite tabletop doing so far? Beautifully. We don’t even use placemats anymore because there is no wood to protect from spills.
How we clean our granite dining table
We wipe it with a damp cloth after every meal. If anything greasy is spilled, I wet the wash cloth very sparingly with diluted dishwashing liquid and wipe the greasy areas. Then, I rinse and wring the cloth, wipe the detergent off the granite and repeat. And the granite is clean and shiny, with no trace of stains.
Updated from a post originally published in January 21, 2020