The Blog

How To Decide Between a Traditional or Jointed Table Top

| L.J. at James+James

At James+James, we offer two different ways your table top can be custom built: Traditional and Jointed. People searching for a new dining table usually ask how to choose between a traditional top and a jointed top. They also wonder what the difference is between a traditional boarded table top and jointed table top. A Traditional, boarded table top features individual boards that run the full length of the table top. With the traditional top, you can see the physical space between each of the wood planks. You can also customize your traditional top to feature endcaps, perpendicular boards at each end of the table top. To create a Jointed top, individual boards are jointed together to create a solid table top. There are not grooves between each board of a jointed table top, but you still have the character of beautiful wood grain and unique knots. Below are some examples of each style to help you make the best choice!

Traditional Table Top

Steel X Base Dining Table with a traditional top 

Traditional, Boarded Top Facts

  • Lots of rustic character

  • True to the farmhouse / rustic chic look

  • Wood boards will expand and contract individually with temperature and humidity changes

  • There will be grooves or gaps between each board (easy to clean in between with a dry paintbrush!)

  • Can be built without or with endcaps (seen below)

Baluster Turned Leg Table with a Traditional Top and Endcaps

​Farmhouse Table with a Traditional Top and Endcaps

Jointed Table Top

Heirloom Pedestal Table with a Jointed Top


Round Heirloom Pedestal Table 


Jointed Top Facts

  • Boards are joined together to create smooth, solid top with no grooves

  • Beautiful grain patterns and unique knots / distress marks add charm and character to jointed tops

  • Entire table top will expand and contract as a whole with temperature and humidity changes

  • Easy to keep clean

  • By their nature, round tables are always built with a jointed top

Country French Turned Leg Table with a Jointed Top

We do not offer endcaps on tables with jointed tops. Jointed table tops built with end aps will have a slight separation and a lip as the wood expands and contracts. Please note that this is normal movement and is not considered defective or out of the ordinary in any way. 

*James+James builds custom tables to fit your needs. The tables pictured here are just examples of what we are able to do. Should you have any questions or need a custom table for your space, please do not hesitate to email us at or give us a call at 479-633-7557 to speak with one of our design consultants to determine what size or shape table will best fit your needs.

Baluster Turned Leg Table with a Traditional Top