Worktop Express Blog

Jul 28

The ‘Waste Less’ Wooden ChairThe ‘Waste Less’ Wooden Chair

We never get bored of telling people what an amazing material wood is. It’s capable of being worked into delicate sculptures, humungous buildings, rollercoasters and of course, our solid wood worktops. We’ve covered some of these fabulous creations people have designed on the blog before, but not all of our favourite wooden wonders are sanded and polished to within an inch of their existence.

The ‘Waste Less’ chair by Hungarian collective, the Architecture Uncomfortable Workshop, is a perfect example of solid wood furniture that uses wood in its most pure form. It was born out of the idea to re-use the waste that remains after processing timber logs, and when not in use folds back into a shape very reminiscent of its original form.

The outer segments of the oak log are joined together with modest iron treads that can be positioned manually to turn the oak into one of three options: a ‘standard’ upright chair, a rocking-chair or lounge chair with leg rest. It truly is the most simplistic form of modular furniture imaginable, using simple components and unaltered natural materials.

We’re big fans of products that don’t waste wood, too. Here at Worktop Express® we have strong environmental principles and never waste any our wooden worktops. If they’re not up to our rigorous high standards, then we cut them down to be used as samples, chopping boards or even our new tablet stands. If we’re left with unusable offcuts, sawdust and other wastage, we use it to fuel our warehouse heating system which helps us avoid huge bills in the winter!

Jul 25

Our Top 5...If – like us – your obsession for wood stretches beyond kitchen surfaces, then you may want to join in the wooden fashion parade and wear some wood with pride. Our hardwood work surfaces are probably a little heavy for most models, but here’s 5 great wearable wooden alternatives:

Orli Tesler and Itamar Medelovitch - Wooden Clutch Bag

Israeli designers Orli Tesler and Itamar Medelovitch have created a range of origami-inspired purses, which use a variety of timbers in place of the traditional textiles you would find on most purses and clutch bags.

They’re beautifully designed, and with the inherent heard-wearing qualities that timber affords, should last for a long time, whilst connecting you more closely to nature. Available in two sizes from £340.

find out more: tesler-mendelovitch.com

Haydanhuya - Oak handbag

Honed from a single piece of oak, this charming handbag from Haydanhuya comes in two sizes with a real tanned leather cover, and there are matching clutch bags crafted from oak and walnut available, too.

The Turkish brand, based in Istanbul prides itself on unique hand-made accessories, and also offers a range of wallets alongside the bags and purses.
Wallets start at £38, with clutch bags and handbags starting at £108.

find out more: haydanhuya.com

Finlay & Co - Wooden Sunglasses

Sunglasses have become a must-have fashion accessory, and whilst face-swamping Aviators are all the rage, we’re fans of these rather more fetching shades from London’s Finlay & Co.

They offer a range of frame designs in a variety of timbers, including Zebrano, walnut and more. Retro design inspirations, combined with beautiful natural materials make these some highly sought-after sunnies. Bosworth and Ledbury designs start at £105.

find out more: finlayandco.com

WoodTies.co.uk - Wooden Bow Tie

WoodTies.co.uk not only offers a selection of wooden ties, but also has a variety of fun bow ties that might not necessarily be the epitome of high fashion, but are ideal accompaniment for fun party wear.

There’s a whole range of styles available, and whilst they don’t specifically state what timbers they’re made from, we can see what looks like oak, beech and wenge amongst the range.

Prices start at £16.95 for bowties and £24.95 for ties.

find out more: woodties.co.uk

Cometman and Kokeya - Wooden Moss Ring

They may not quite be the engagement ring that most ladies dream of, but we think these Japanese moss rings by Cometman and Kokeya are a fantastic example of natural jewellery from the country that brought the world bonzai trees.

The ring itself is crafted from the luxurious African timber known as bubinga, whilst on the face a specimen of live Leucobryum moss makes each ring totally unique.

The rings are available in a number of sizes from 15mm to 19mm, starting at around £57.

find out more: ladestore.com

Jul 21

Celebrating 20,000 Facebook Likes and 200,000 Orders of Solid Wooden Work Surfaces

Crack out the champagne and put the beers on ice, because we’ve reached two fantastic milestones this month – achievements that would never have been possible without our equally fantastic customers.

First, we’d like to thank every single one of you who likes us on Facebook. We love letting you know everything the team gets up to, and try to post plenty of insightful information guides along with the odd bit of light-hearted humour.

On our way to over 20,000 likes we’ve run social media competitions, sales and other promotions – there’ll be more of this to come, and Facebook followers will be amongst the first to find out every time.

Our second huge achievement relates to the company behind the Worktop Express® brand, Direct Online Services: as an entity, we’ve now delivered over 200,000 orders of solid wooden work surfaces, solid wood cabinets through our sister company Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets, and much more besides. Since 2009, we’ve continually built upon our strong ethos of providing excellent service, all backed up by dependable knowledge and a range of products we’re incredibly proud of.

We continue to expand our offerings, and in the last year alone, have introduced the new species of ash worktops, a wide range of Deluxe worktops, solid oak floating shelves, and a variety of other accessories including our solid wood iPad stands – which at only £20 are proving very popular indeed!

Thanks to every single one of our customers who’ve left us such fantastic reviews on Trustpilot, and those who’ve supported us on social media – and don’t forget, we’re not just Facebook! We’re on Twitter and Google+, too, so do stop by and say hello.

Jul 18

First Kitchen Worktops Video - Beech

We can’t say we find it too difficult to wax lyrical about the virtues of solid wood, and the impressive range of wooden kitchen worktops that we keep in stock. People say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so in that case, how many words should a video equate to?

We’ve just released the first of our product videos, which features glorious beech wood worktops. In the video you’ll see up-close footage of our beech surfaces, the key details that make this timber such an incredibly popular option, and information on how to order beech worktop samples.

The video was created by the talented folk at the local video production company Elrose Media, who – like us – are based in the county of Gloucestershire. It was also shot right here on site in our Gloucester showroom, and is the first in a series of YouTube videos that will feature all of our fabulous worktops.

If – after watching the fantastic video – you’ve got the taste for our beech worktops, you can read lots more info about them in our handy Nutshell Guide. And be sure to keep an eye on our product pages for more videos – many more will be coming soon!

Jul 14

Worktop accessories for solid wood kitchen work tops

If you’ve read our blog before, then hopefully you’ll be well versed in our rather splendid solid wood kitchen work tops. If not, you might want to start out by having a read of some of the wonderfully informative guides on worktop-express.co.uk.

Nonetheless, whether your worktop has already been chosen or whether you’re still at the ‘research’ stage, we thoroughly recommend familiarising yourself with our range of essential worktop accessories – and this blog is here to help!

We’re not just about worktops here at Worktop Express®, so please read on for more information on the gorgeous array of accessories that we stock:

Upstands: finish your worktop installation in style with a solid wood upstand – an excellent alternative to tiling or gap-filling sealant. These items are fantastic for blending the worktop into the design of the kitchen, whilst covering up the expansion gap that we recommend leaving between the worktop and the wall. Furthermore, if your kitchen wall is not 100% straight, upstands can also be used to conceal small variations.

Rustins Danish Oil: Danish Oil is a staple here at Worktop Express® HQ, as regular applications are essential for a happy and trouble-free worktop life. If you’re ordering DIY worktops from us, we recommend applying at least three coats of Rustins Danish Oil prior to installation (and more to the edges and end grains). Any worktops modified by our bespoke cutting service will have been pre-oiled after any bespoke amendments have been made, but should still be oiled immediately after installation. A regular programme of oiling after installation will keep your worktop looking beautiful for many years to come.

Moisture Barriers: if you’ve got appliances situated underneath your worktop – particularly washing machines and dishwashers – then we recommend the installation of moisture barriers on the underside of the necessary portion of worktop. Continually evaporating moisture can damage worktops, so by positioning one of our adhesive moisture barriers above your appliances, your wooden worktop will be protected from any unnecessary water damage.

Other Accessories: in addition to those mentioned above, we offer an extensive range of accessories to ease the installation process. A variety of brackets, router cutters, jigs and much more are in stock and available for next day delivery. Have a look at the full range on our worktop accessories page.

solid wood tablet stands Solid Wood Kitchen Work Tops

Don’t forget our Solid Wood Tablet Stands: the latest addition to our range of solid wood accessories should be right at the top of any tech-lover’s wish list.

Our solid wood tablet stands are ideal for any tablet up to 11mm thick, which includes all iPads after version 2, and a whole host of tablets from Samsung, Asus and other popular brands.

They’re available in classic oak, stylish zebrano or classy wenge timbers, and will hold a tablet in either portrait or landscape with ease. Why not order one today for just £20 including free delivery!

Jul 11

Extended Cut-Off Time for Next Day Delivery

At Worktop Express® we continually endeavour to update and improve our offering. That’s why – amongst other things – we’ve recently introduced gorgeous ash worktops and our impressive solid oak floating shelves. Being a leading retailer isn’t just about supplying excellent products, however: we know how important it is to deliver quality service to our customers.

We’ve been offering next day delivery on a number of our products for a while now, but – as with every other aspect of the business – we’ll never be truly happy unless we can improve this service without any extra cost to the customer.

That’s why, after extensive scenario testing, we’ve made the decision to move our 2Man next-day delivery cut-off back by a whole hour from 10am to the new time of 11am. This means that anyone who’s in a hurry and needs one of our wood block work surfaces or accessories by the following day now has some extra time to place his/her order.

To find out more about the delivery options we provide, please read our ’Delivery Details’ page or browse our library of information guides.

Jul 07

It’s been a little while since we launched a brand new choice of timber here at Worktop Express®, but we’ve been working on bringing you excellent quality ash worktops at a truly competitive price for a long time.

Now they’re here and available to buy, so it makes perfect sense to crown this gorgeous ash kitchen surface with our ‘Worktop of the Month’ accolade.

Available in 2, 3 and 4m lengths, our ash hardwood tops are constructed from chunky 40mm staves that look great thanks to the exceptionally light colour and detailed caramel-coloured grain that ash is well known for.

Ash has featured heavily throughout the history of woodworking, initially finding its uses in a variety of architectural uses as well as tools due to the material’s shock-resistance and resilience against splitting. These properties have also made ash a common timber for use in tennis racket, hammer and axe construction. There are many of other purported uses for ash, and the trees have been recorded in Norse and Scottish mythology as far back as the 13th century.

Now that you’re well up on ash’s beauty, worktop suitability and a little of its history, why not choose this fantastic timber as an alternative to oak or beech? For a hands-on experience of ash, feel free to order one of our samples, or get in touch with one of our friendly sales advisors.

NEW Ash Hardwood Tops: April’s Worktop of the Month

Jul 04

Worktops at Wimbledon: A History of Wooden Rackets

Are you prepared with a punnet of strawberries and ready to cover them in cream? It’s that time of the year when Britain becomes even more obsessed with the weather, thanks to the arrival of the oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world: Wimbledon.

Having run yearly since 1877, Wimbledon has seen its fair share of different rackets pass through player’s hands, but it should come as no surprise that it’s the retro wooden rackets that pique our interest.

The game of tennis has history stretching way back to the 11th or 12th century, with rackets (or ‘racquets’) coming in to use by the year 1500. Modern tennis as we know it was patented by Major Walter C Wingfield in 1874, whose equipment sold as far afield as China and India within a year. Rackets used during this time were similar to the wooden ones used until the 70s, but had a wider head with a flat top, rather than the more traditional oval shape we’re now used to.

Early wooden rackets were often carved from a single piece of timber, or a piece of timber for each side of the racket, which were then joined in the middle using staples and animal glues. Later, wooden rackets were made by steam-bended layers of thin wooden laminate, followed by even thinner veneers during the 1940s. The thinner layers allowed manufacturers to more easily adjust the shape of the racket, so that the natural variation in wood could be averaged out so as to give competitors a more level playing field.

The most common wood used in the construction of early rackets was ash, which was chosen for its combination of strength and the ease with which it can be worked (two qualities that made us decide to add exceptional ash worktops to our range recently). Maple and beech were also common in racket construction, particularly for the throat and handle.

With modern manufacturing techniques not making metal and composite rackets possible until the 1970s, wooden rackets were used all the way up 1980s, when it was finally deemed that wooden rackets were inferior compared to their fibre-glass and carbon-steel competitors.

Wood may have gone firmly out of fashion on the tennis court, but it couldn’t be more popular in kitchens. If you’ve yet to experience the beauty of our wooden worktops, then why not order a sample? They’re cut from our worktop stock and oiled on one side, and are only £5 including delivery. If you go on to order a worktop from us, we’ll even refund the cost of the sample off your purchase.