What does a British "deal table" look like?

I keep running into the term “plain deal table” in Bristish literature. (Also, rarely, “deal chair”)
E.g 1984 “There was a deal table under the window where he and the old man could talk without fear of being overheard.”
Sherlock Holmes, The Red-headed League “There was nothing in the office but a couple of wooden chairs and a deal table, behind which sat a small man with a head that was even redder than mine.”

It always implies crude furniture but I wonder what exactly that means, what would describe that to distinguish it from other cheap tables.

According to some dictionary websites, “deal” in that context means fir or pine construction. I’d always assumed it meant a small table for cards, but apparently not.

I tried google and kept finding cryptic remarks such as this:
“I wonder that Hammett means by a “plain deal table”. How many modern readers have seen what cigarette foil paper looks like? Are Hammett’s wonderful stories slowly becoming unintelligible with the march of time?”

“Deal pine” is another name for white pine, which is indeed quite popular for making cheap furniture.

I guess that qualifies my home computer desk as a “deal table”.

I think it’s worth noting that Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949 and the Holmes books much earlier. I wonder which was the last book to use the word in that context? I’ve only ever seen it in old-fashioned books and crossword puzzles. My dictionary mentions both white deal and red deal, but whenever I’ve bought timber I’ve ordered “softwood” or a specific, named tree.

A table intended to be used for playing cards would always be a card table.

I think the American equivalent would be a shaker table; simple construction, softwood, minimally varnished/oiled/waxed.

Here’s what they say at Merriam-Webster - m-w.com

Main Entry: 4deal
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English dele, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, plank; akin to Old High German dili plank – more at THILL
Date: 14th century
1 a British : a board of fir or pine b : sawed yellow-pine lumber nine inches (22.5 centimeters) or wider and three, four, or five inches (7.6 to 12.4 centimeters) thick
2 : pine or fir wood

  • deal adjective

So it sounds like it’s made of plain planks, kind of like a shop workbench.

AFAIK “deal” is still a current, if technical, term for sawn pine wood in Britain. I certainly remember it from school woodwork lessons (mid-1980s).