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Worktop Express Blog

Nov 28

November is historically one of the busiest months here at Worktop Express, and this year has not disappointed. In fact, we have seen more than 600 fantastic fabricated wooden surfaces pass through the hands of our bespoke worktop team – an amazing effort by all involved.

Though it was difficult to keep up with so many worktops passing through, we have picked out three fine examples to feature here on the blog:

A solid oak worktop featuring hot rod groves and a hob cut-out.

Oak

It’s difficult to believe how many custom oak worktops we see in the fabrication department, but their timeless beauty never ceases to impress. This particular oak worktop is unusual in that it features an oven hob cut-out alongside smooth routed grooves to accommodate a set of diamond-shaped worktop hotrod set.

After our fabrication team cut the worktop to size and made the necessary customisations, it was given a further sanding to ensure it was incredibly smooth before passing through our oiling facility to receive a coating of oil to protect it during transit and installation.

An unusual iroko kitchen island worktop featuring a circular sink cut-out, drainage grooves and a chamfered edge.

Iroko

Iroko is another timeless classic that is a popular choice with our customers. After allowing time to mature, the deep bronze tones and iridescent glow make iroko worktops an elegant choice for both classic and contemporary kitchen settings.

This piece will feature as the surface on one of our customer’s kitchen islands, and has an impressive circular cut-out to accommodate a sink, with corresponding drainage grooves and a tap hole, too. Finally, a large chamfered edge was applied on each of the four sides to give it a luxurious profile.

As with all the custom worktops that pass through our facility, the worktop was then sanded to an incredibly smooth finish and oiled to provide sufficient protection during transit and installation.

This full stave ash worktop features an undermounted sink cut-out and drainage grooves.

Full Stave Ash

If you are looking for a lighter alternative to oak or a more characterful substitute for maple, our full stave ash worktops might be your perfect pick. The light, linear grain pattern makes this bright wooden surface a firm favourite for classic kitchens that are lacking in natural light.

After being cut to size, this full stave ash surface had an aperture cut for an undermounted stainless steel sink and complementary drainage groove were applied alongside. The worktop was then passed over to our sanding team to ensure the finish was perfectly smooth, after which our oiling team passed it through our specialist coating machine and then finished the worktop by hand to ensure it would be well sealed during delivery and installation.

If you are feeling inspired by our custom-made wooden worktops, why not try our Online Bespoke Worktop Tool? This innovative online app allows you to design, price up and pay for bespoke worktops online. What’s more, we are currently offering a discount on all worktop customisations ordered via the tool; it’s now easier and cheaper than ever to create the worktop of your dreams!

Nov 21

Since their introduction, our range of laminate worktops have been positively flying out of our warehouse; and with such a wide selection of colours, finishes and edge profiles on offer, it’s certainly difficult to pick a favourite. This month – for the first time ever – we have chosen one of these laminates as our ‘Worktop of the Month’: black gloss laminate worktops.

Constellation black gloss laminate worktops novembers worktop of the month

These attractive laminate worktops have a subtle, mottled appearance known as ‘Constellation’, which is covered in a glossy laminate overlay: a finish that is incredibly easy to clean with warm soapy water and a soft cloth.

Like the other laminate kitchen countertops in our collection, Constellation worktops have received the FIRA Gold Award for product excellence. This recognised mark of quality shows that these black gloss worktops have been independently tested and evaluated by furniture industry experts.

Our laminate worktops are made in the UK from sustainable composite fibreboard, which is wrapped in a decorative sheet before being covered in a clear laminate overlay. These layers are bonded together under high heat and pressure to create an incredibly robust and hard-wearing surface that is highly resistant to water and stains.

If you think these affordable laminate worktops might be the right choice for your new kitchen, why not order our laminate worktop sample pack? This pack includes a sample of each laminate surface in our collection and costs just £5 with next-day courier delivery. Furthermore, if you go on to order one of our laminate worktops, we will happily refund the cost – an unmissable bargain!

Nov 14

Beech tree shaped like a man in the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria.

Credit: Deyan Kossev (Solent News)

This intriguing, naturally-grown tree was discovered by a man trekking through the Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria. Eye-catching and unique, we couldn’t help but compare this timber structure to our characterful wooden worktops. Wood is wonderful in all its forms, so we wanted to share a little more about this leggy lumber.

Though a little out of the ordinary, this 65ft-tall timber giant is actually a beech tree. Whilst the reason it has grown in such a manner is unknown, the tree looks like something straight out of The Lord of the Rings, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Tolkien’s Treebeard.

The striking structure is formed with two legs, pronged arms, a body and a head, and was documented by amateur photographer Deyan Kossev earlier this year.

A true example of wacky wood (or should that be bizarre beech?)! However, if you are looking for something a little less eccentric for your kitchen, you might prefer our solid beech worktops. Available in a variety of sizes and stave configurations, our beautiful beech surfaces showcase a distinctive grain structure and warm, inviting colouration.

Nov 07

Unless otherwise requested, any substantial offcuts that are created during the fabrication process are delivered alongside the corresponding bespoke solid wood worktops. If you’ve received your solid wood worktop offcuts and are wondering how best to use them, never fear: simply read on to discover five great ways to upcycle them!

Wood date block made from solid timber.

Image courtesy of Alibaba

Wooden Date Blocks

If you have received worktop offcuts from our walnut worktops, you are likely to have sections of pale sapwood and dark heartwood in your possession. These are ideal if you would like to make wooden date blocks with contrasting colour tones. Cut 40mm thick worktop offcuts into blocks measuring 40mm3, with an 80 x 20 x 40mm block to sit underneath. If you like, you can cut thinner pieces to create a convenient stand, too.

Teak wood soap dish made form solid wood.

Image courtesy of Amara

Solid Wood Soap Dish

Creating a solid wood soap dish is easy, and a particularly good choice for offcuts from our iroko worktops, which have a high oil content that makes them especially hygienic and more resistant to water ingress. Use a 120 x 80 x 20mm section of timber and add smooth edge profiling for an elegant finishing touch.

Solid oak heart-shaped decorations with string

Image courtesy of Andra Home

Hardwood Hearts

These decorative hardwood hearts are simple to make if you have offcuts from bespoke solid oak worktops. They are fairly easy to cut with a small band saw and should be sanded to ensure any sharp edges are removed. Use a wood drill with a small bit piece to add a hole, and accessorize with brightly-coloured ribbon or string.

Wooden pot for storing plants or pens.

Image courtesy of Afloral

Wooden Vase

Solid wood vases look especially elegant when made from a pale timber like maple or a dark and luxurious wood such as wenge. Simply cut a narrow section from your offcuts, cut into squares of equal sizes, and join using glue or small nails. You can also use this vessel to accommodate small house plants or store pens.

Solid wood mobile phone stand.

Solid Wood Phone Stand

A solid wood phone stand can make a handy accessory for kitchens, especially if you are using it to follow a recipe online. They also look excellent in a timber that coordinates with your wooden worktops. Using your timber worktop offcuts, cut a piece of wood to 150 x 60 x 40mm. Add a groove 50mm from the front.

Whenever cutting solid wood worktop offcuts, please be sure to wear eye protection and follow the guidelines laid out by the manufacturer if using any technical equipment. Finally, sand away any rough edges and add a coat of Danish oil to nourish the timber.

If you have created a handy kitchen gadget from your own worktop offcuts, we would love to hear from you. Please share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Nov 02

Our excellent-value kitchen components are now more affordable than ever! This month, we are offering a fantastic 10% discount across our entire product range, including all of our solid wooden worktops and laminate work surfaces.

Whether you would like to purchase kitchen worktops, complementary worktop accessories, kitchen sinks, taps or floating shelves, all of the products on our website are available with a 10% discount for one month only. To take advantage of this brilliant offer, simply enter the discount code NOV10 at the online checkout. This discount is also available if you order via telephone or email: simply email or call us on 0345 22 22 644 to speak with a member of our sales team, quote the offer, and we will be pleased to apply the discount.

All of our stock is now reduced by 10 per cent until the end of November!
Get 25 per cent off all of our wooden worktop cutting services.

This November we are delighted to announce that we are offering not one, but two money-saving sales. Our second great offers customers an impressive 25% discount on all of our wood worktop cutting services ordered online. To benefit from these savings, order your custom wood worktops through our Online Bespoke Worktop Tool and the cost of each cutting service will be automatically discounted by 25%.

Please place your order by 23:59 on Wednesday 30th November to take advantage of these fantastic offers.

Oct 31

Real wooden worktops are unsurpassed by veneered imitations in both strength and beauty – and our Deluxe Sapele worktops are no exception. Indeed, these kitchen surfaces – which are perfect for infusing your space with an innate sense of warmth – have been awarded the accolade of ‘Worktop of the Month’. Read on to learn more!

Deluxe Sapele countertops are crafted from only the highest-quality raw materials, producing a work surface that is both beautiful and robust. Deeper in colour than iroko and warmer than black American walnut, sapele starts out pale but develops rich chestnut hues soon after installation.

October’s Worktop of the Month – Deluxe Sapele worktops with 90mm wide staves.

Sapele boasts a wavy grain and an even texture, with a notable lack of knots; furthermore, it’s extremely hard-wearing – even denser than oak.

The Deluxe worktop configuration incorporates extra-wide, 90mm staves, which are perfect for displaying the timber’s attractive grain pattern to the fullest effect. Each of these staves is finger-jointed and glued under high pressure, creating durable, long-lasting worktops that measure up to 4M in length.

Complete the look of your Deluxe Sapele worktops with coordinating Deluxe Sapele worktop upstands – an elegant finishing touch that will disguise the expansion gap at the back of the counter. If you would like to balance the look with matching plinths, we also supply full stave sapele plinths that will coordinate beautifully.

Order your worktop sample today to discover the true charm of solid sapele worktops in person. These representative samples cost just £5 each, the cost of which can be redeemed when you go on to place a full order with Worktop Express®.

Oct 24

Our talented team of craftsmen have had a busy month producing stunning hardwood work surfaces to match the precise specifications of our customers. Indeed, a range of characterful timber species and luxurious exotic variants have passed through our hands over the last few weeks: keep reading to learn more about our favourites!

Full Stave Zebrano

Bespoke full stave zebrano worktop with a circular sink cut-out.

One of our most strikingly exotic wood surfaces, our full stave zebrano worktops are truly stunning. With 90mm-wide staves that run the entire length of the work surface, the distinctive grain and golden colouration of these worktops are shown off to their best.

This bespoke zebrano worktop has been purchased for use in a bathroom. It has been cut to size and a circular cut-out was added to create space for a large drop-in sink.

European Walnut

Made to measure European walnut work surface with an irregular cut, undermounted sink cut-out, tap hole and drainage grooves.

European walnut worktops are well-known for their characterful grain pattern and beautifully contrasting colouration. The colours featured in these popular worktops range from honey to chocolate, making this the ideal surface for bringing warmth and cosiness to any kitchen.

This particular custom worktop has had a number of bespoke cuts made. First, an irregular cut was added to provide this diagonal edge. Then, a sink cut-out was created to make space for an undermounted kitchen sink. Around the sink cut-out, we have added a tap hole cut-out and six angled drainage grooves. As an elegant finishing touch, a pencil edge profile has been added to the front edge of the worktop.

Wenge

Custom wood worktop made from solid wenge with a sink cut-out, a large hob cut-out and drainage grooves.

This impressive wenge worktop is our favourite piece from October. Measuring four metres long, the large swathe of dark and sumptuous timber is especially dramatic. Exotic wenge wood is 50% more dense than oak, earning itself the reputation of being ‘the timber equivalent of granite’; robust and luxurious, this really is a surface that you can prize for many, many years.

The stylish surface was made to measure by our experienced fabrication team, who tailored the worktop to feature an undermounted sink cut-out and a large hob cut-out. Drainage grooves were added to the surface, making it easy to wipe water off the surface and into the sink in future (thus ensuring that the wood will never be impaired by standing water).

If you are considering ordering kitchen worktops with bespoke features, we are pleased to offer a professional wood worktop cutting service and laminate cutting service. Wooden worktops can also be designed, priced-up and ordered online using our Online Bespoke Worktop Tool.

To get in touch and order with a member of our helpful sales team, please telephone us on 0345 22 22 644 or email .

Oct 21

Martyn and Will Rees founded Direct Online Services Ltd in 2009.

Martyn and Will Rees, Co-Founders of Worktop Express

Direct Online Services Ltd is the online retailer behind prominent kitchen worktops brand Worktop Express and oak kitchen supplier Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets (as well as a number of other acclaimed brands). We are pleased to announce that the company has just secured an investment of £3 million from the Business Growth Fund to support further expansion.

Founded by father and son team Martyn and Will Rees in 2009, one of the company’s primary aims is to supply high-quality, sustainably-sourced kitchen components at truly affordable prices. The company already operates in the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland, and is excited to have secured the funds to expand further into Germany and launch a new operation in France.

‘The business has grown rapidly in the past seven years and we have continued to make investments in our team, infrastructure, operations, sales and marketing,’ commented Martyn Rees.

Will added: ‘With this substantial investment, we plan to expand our product range as well as our presence in the UK and overseas, and hope to become the leading online worktop retailer in Europe’.

The Business Growth Fund was formed in 2011 to provide long-term growth capital for fast-growing SMEs in the UK. Backed by five of the nation’s most prominent banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered – the independent organisation helps ambitious businesses reach their full potential.

Direct Online Services Ltd now employs almost 200 people and predicts turnover to exceed £25 million this year. You can find out more about our flagship brand on the Worktop Express ‘About Us’ page.

Oct 17

Ecosia is a search engine that uses its advert revenue to plant trees.

Anyone who is a fan of our hardwood worktops will know about our passion for sustainable and ethical sourcing, and that we are strongly committed to our rigorous environmental policies. But did you know about this one easy change you can make to minimise your own carbon footprint?

Ecosia is a search engine company based in Berlin, Germany, which donates 80% of its surplus income to not-for-profit organisations with a focus on conservation. Launched in December 2009, its current emphasis is on tree planting, whilst it ensures all of its business operations are C02-neutral and all its financials transparent.

Powered by BING, a search engine owned and run by Microsoft, Ecosia displays adverts on its search results pages. The company is paid for every click on a sponsored advert, an amount which varies depending on the search term. If a web user clicks on an advert after searching for what is categorised as a higher-value search term, the advert revenue from this one click could pay for a number of trees.

Within two years, the search engine raised more than €250,000, and 116,000 seedlings were planted thanks to Ecosia’s donations. Today, the figure stands at more than 5,337,000 trees planted in total – and around €2,886,000 donated – so you can see how far the project has come. The company aims to plant one billion trees by 2020.

We strive to become ever-more sustainable in all our processes and have collaborated with the International Tree Foundation (ITF) for several years to support tree-planting projects across the UK and Africa. Find out more about our pro-environmental endeavours in our recent project update.

Oct 14

Beautiful worktops are an intrinsic aspect of any kitchen design. If you’re looking for a little something extra to help with your everyday culinary tasks – or to give to a friend to show off on their work surfaces – we have searched the web to find the perfect kitchen accessories for you, and none of them cost more than £20. If you’re an owner of solid wood worktops and are committed to perfecting the fine art of hosting, these excellent gadgets and utensils are just what you need:

The Obsessive Chef Chopping Board, made entirely from bamboo.

The Obsessive Chef Chopping Board – £20.00

Perfect for the truly conscientious chefs among us, the Obsessive Chef Chopping Board features markings that will help you cut and dice with the utmost precision. There are also angled lines that assist in cutting to 30°, 45° and 60°.

If you pride yourself on fastidious food preparation, why not treat yourself to this bamboo chopping board? Just £20 from Waitrose!

Five-piece bamboo utensil set from Mason Cash.

Mason Cash Elite 5-Piece Bamboo Utensil Set – £10.00

This five-piece utensil set from Mason Cash is the ideal complement to our impressive bamboo worktops, and features the same distinctive node markings. This environmentally-friendly kit of utensils includes a range of slotted and solid spoons and turners.

A useful kitchen starter kit, the Mason Cash 5-piece set can be purchased from a range of high-street and online retailers for around £10.

A ceramic and wood olive dish with olive picks and four compartments.

Ceramic and Wood Olive Dish with Picks – £12.99

If you love entertaining, this ceramic and wood olive dish is a must. Incorporating ceramic surrounds and a wooden centre, the dish also includes handy olive picks to save your fingers from getting oily.

You need not limit your tasty treats to olives, however. With four compartments, you can delight guests with a range of salamis, stuffed piquant peppers and other such nibbles. This elegant dish looks great on wood worktops, and can be purchased from findmeagift.co.uk for £12.99.

This wooden chopping board features a useful conversion chart.

Oak Floating Shelf – £20.00

If you’re seeking a solid wood storage solution to match your hardwood work surfaces, look no further than this 300mm oak floating shelf from Worktop Express®. Made from the same timber as our solid oak worktops, these shelves create an impressive floating effect, and are very hard-wearing.

If you have opted for a worktop of a different timber, you can visit our floating shelves page to discover a wide variety of choices. These popular shelves are easily installed and start from just £20.

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Kitchen Conversions Chopping Board – £11.99

Ever followed a recipe that instructs you to pre-heat your oven at Gas Mark 4 and find yourself scratching your head as you look at the ‘degrees Celsius’ markings on your cooker? This multi-purpose chopping board is a convenient solution to many common kitchen conversions, providing a wide variety of equivalent measurements including dry measures, liquid measures and temperatures.

This wooden chopping board is an excellent accessory for timber countertops, and you can find it on findmeagift.co.uk for just £11.99.

If you love the look of these accessories but have yet to purchase your worktop, why not request some worktop samples to help you select your favourite timber? Samples cost just £5 and can be refunded against your worktops on a one-for-one basis.