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Worktop Express Blog

Sep 29

Here at Worktop Express®, the fabrication team never stop! We’re always working with customers to produce fantastic bespoke hardwood worktops that will finish their kitchens in style. September was a pleasingly busy month in which we saw no fewer than 211 bespoke worktops delivered to customers around the UK, so we were spoiled for choice when it came to choosing our top three – but we’ve managed it, just about!

Full Stave Iroko

Full Stave Iroko Worktop with irregular cut out and end cap.

The bronze hues and natural features of full stave iroko worktops never fail to disappoint; the 90mm wide staves show off the grain in an unrivalled fashion. This piece has been cut down to size to fit perfectly into the customer’s kitchen, with an irregular cut on one corner, and a chunky 40mm endcap applied. Finally, to protect the worktop from the hustle and bustle of kitchen life, two coats of oil were applied which also brings out the rich colour of the timber. If you’re tempted by the colour and vibrant character of this wonderful timber, our standard iroko worktops are on sale for the rest of the month.

Oak

Oak worktop with irregular cut outs hob cut out, internal radius corners and butt join cut outs.

This 960mm wide oak worktop has had the full works – a large cut-out with two internal radius corners, another wide cut-out that will house an oven hob, and two smaller irregular cut-outs at the rear of the worktop to accommodate immovable features in the customer’s kitchen. On the front edge you can see the bolt holes that will attach this worktop to another rectangular piece, creating a lavish wrap-around U-shaped kitchen work area. Like with all our fabricated pieces, the worktop then went twice through our specialist oiling station to fully protect the timber and create a more hard-wearing kitchen surface.

Caramel Bamboo

Caramel Bamboo worktop with radius corners and irregular cut outs.

Beautiful caramel bamboo worktops are made from exactly the same species as our standard bamboo worktops, but undergo an additional caramelisation process: during this treatment, an application of heat brings out additional sugars in the timber to enrich its overall appearance. This particular piece has a unique outward ellipse applied on one edge, with small radius corners to seamlessly blend it in with the rest of the worktop. Another small radius was also applied on one corner, after which the worktop was twice coated with oil to give it a smooth and hard-wearing finish.

Thinking of ordering a custom wooden worktop for your kitchen? We’ve got the expertise to create any bespoke piece, and with our brand new Online Bespoke Worktop Tool it’s now easier than ever to design a worktop that’s right for you. Please do give it a go: it’s quick, easy and very affordable – and our expert team are just a phone call or email away should you require any additional assistance!

Sep 26

Our Top 5...

If you have completed your kitchen with our fantastic quality real wooden worktops, then why not continue the timber theme throughout your kitchen with some complementary timber furnishings? We’ve whittled down our favourites to a top 5 that will deck out any kitchen in style.

Kitchen trolley Real Wooden Worktops

image courtesy of Debenhams

This little trolley is the perfect helping hand in a kitchen for busy chefs. Made from ‘hevea wood’, also known as rubber wood, its golden hues are not unlike our ash worktops and so match beautifully.

It has a top surface that would be ideal for one of our solid wood chopping boards, two drawers for storing cutlery or utensils, a wine rack that can store four bottles of your favourite tipple and two shelves to store further kitchen accessories. There’s even wheels on the base to move it around the kitchen easily.

Available from Debenhams for £183.75

Wooden Bar Stool Real Wooden Worktops

image courtesy of TopFurniture.co.uk

Proud owner of a kitchen island or breakfast bar worktop? Look no further for a perfect matching set of stools than this ‘Wave’ bar stool which is made from solid oak hardwood.

There’s little more to say about most four-legged stools, though this one does have an interesting curvy seat which is designed to support the lower back and aid posture.
Finished with a layer of oil and then waxed to provide a hard-wearing protective layer, this oak bar stool ‘wood’ look great alongside matching oak worktops.

Available from TopFurniture.co.uk for £99.99

Chunky Mirror Real Wooden Worktops

image courtesy of EatSleepLive

A mirror may not seem like an obvious furnishing with which to complement a solid wood kitchen, but if your kitchen is lacking in space or light, a mirror can add an extra dimension of depth and reflect available light around a kitchen to make the room feel bigger and brighter.

This particular mirror is designed from chunky pieces of reclaimed oak: perfect for bringing an air of rustic charm to any country kitchen.

Available from EatSleepLive.co.uk from £95

6ft Dining Table Real Wooden Worktops

image courtesy of EatSleepLive

This 6ft dining table is made entirely from solid oak, and like our full stave oak worktops is constructed from planks of oak that run the entire length of the table-top.

The ‘cross legged’ design is ideal for a farmhouse or country kitchen dining area or separate dining room, and thanks to the 100% oak hardwood construction is suitably solid and hard-wearing for regular use.

Available from Oak Furniture Land for £599

Cutlery Drawer Inserts Real Wooden Worktops

We couldn’t round out this top 5 without a nod to our solid wood cutlery drawer inserts. We recently expanded the range to include extra sizes up to 910mm wide and two new hardwood choices: iroko and black American walnut (alongside our existing oak and beech options).

If you’ve got one of our worktops, these cutlery drawers are the perfect companion. The handy compartments are ideal for organising cutlery and utensils and are precisely cut in-house by our CNC machine, then hand-sanded to a beautifully fine finish.

Available from Worktop Express from £95

Sep 22

Deluxe European Walnut Worktop

Autumn is a time of year when we can truly appreciate the beauty of nature, as the colours of a tree’s leaves change into bright reds and browns, the sun gets lower in the sky and brings with it warmer tones, and we start to cosy up before the frosts of winter fully set in.

If you are choosing solid wood worktops at this time of year, we offer a range of exceptional timbers that really complement the warmer light of the autumn and winter months; we’ve picked three of our favourites:

Deluxe European Walnut

Deluxe European Walnut Worktop

A mixture of honey tones and darker chocolate-coloured staves makes our Deluxe Walnut worktops appear truly distinctive and very luxurious.

The extra wide staves offered by this worktop construction show off the timber’s beautiful natural figure and open grain in an unmistakable fashion.

2M x 620 x 40mm Deluxe Walnut Worktops just £250

Standard Iroko

Standard Iroko Worktop

Iroko is an inimitable timber with an exquisite array of golden staves which makes a surface that matures into a rich bronze appearance soon after installation. Unlike many timbers, iroko has an iridescent sheen that looks beautiful in the warm hues of either natural or artificial light. Perfect for both traditional and modern kitchens alike, and – if it was not already appealing enough – it is currently on sale with up to 10% off all standard iroko worktops.

2M x 620 x 40mm iroko worktops currently only £120

Full Stave Oak

Full Stave Oak Worktop

Oak is a timber steeped in tradition with a long and illustrious history that makes it a perfect worktop for the centrepiece of any kitchen. Its golden colouration and unique grain radiate warmth in the yellow light of an autumn afternoon, brightening up any kitchen. Our full stave oak worktops offer a beautiful combination of characterful golden tones with extra-wide staves that run the entire length of the top.

2M x 620 x 40mm full stave oak worktops only £235

Sep 18

Here at Worktop Express® we are passionate about promoting the use of sustainable materials such as bamboo. Bamboo is ideal for solid kitchen worktops: not only is this material eco-friendly, it’s also hard-wearing and naturally water tight.

To celebrate this fantastic sustainable plant, the World Bamboo Organisation have declared September 18th ‘World Bamboo Day’. By marking this date on the world calendar, the organisation are hoping to draw attention to bamboo in order to protect natural resources, ensure sustainable utilisation and promote new cultivation of bamboo in regions around the world beyond its native China.

Celebrate World Bamboo Day with Our Solid Kitchen Worktops

World Bamboo Day was first celebrated in 2009, and since then the Thai Royal Forest Department – similar to our own Woodland Trust – has supported anything that promotes the use of this fast-growing perennial grass as an alternative to hardwood timbers that grow more slowly and are not as sustainable.

Besides perfect bamboo worktops, it is also an incredible building material and has been used in lieu of metal scaffolding across eastern Asia for hundreds – if not thousands – of years. It can be used to create beautiful music, in the production of organic clothing and even in food: bamboo shoots are perfectly edible and ideal for stir fries, Thai curries and soups! Whatever you’re up to today, spend a few minutes in celebration of this incredible material, and support the many people around the world that depend on bamboo as an environmentally-sound hardwood substitute.

To find out even more information about bamboo and the darker caramelised alternative, read our in-depth information guide: All About Bamboo & Caramel Bamboo. Our Bamboo worktops start at just £125, are full of character and are an unmistakable alternative to other traditional light-coloured worktop materials such as maple or oak.

Sep 15

Over on the popular social media network Pinterest we’ve been curating some rather awesome ‘Wacky Wood’ Pinterest boards. We also have the full range of our kitchen worktops on the Worktop Express® Pinterest channel with plenty of photos from our website included. We love Pinterest, which we see as a digital scrap book for the digital generation. You can create your own ‘mood’ boards, group together photographic collections of your favourite things, or simply use it as a repository for your favourite photos.

This week we have chosen some favourite examples of Wacky Wood architecture from our dedicated Pinterest board, and will take a look at them in further detail.

The Kamppi Chapel of Silence

The Kamppi Chapel of Silence, Helsinki, Finland.

The block construction of this curved wooden structure is fairly reminiscent of our wooden worktops, but that’s not the only reason for us to include it in this post.

As well as providing regular services, the chapel serves as a refuge for people wanting to express their problems to social workers in a warm and calming atmosphere.

The chapel was designed by K2S Architects as part of the World Design Capital program in 2012 and was voted as ‘Nordic Building of the Year’ by Swedish magazine ‘Form’.

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Sutyagin House

Sutyagin House, Arkhangelsk, Russia

This wooden monstrosity has its own imposing architectural style, and a bizarre history behind it, too.

Built by self-professed Russian gangster and local ‘entrepreneur’ Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin, it started as a more modest four-storey building in 1992, but seemingly Mr. Sutyagin simply couldn’t stop adding layer upon layer in a bid to create the city’s tallest building.

It was once a contender in the Guinness book of records as one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings (until it was condemned by local city councillors and slowly demolished throughout 2008, that is!)

The last four floors burnt to the ground in May 2012, and Mr. Sutyagin has since moved on to a more normal-sized abode.

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Crazy House Hang Nga Guesthouse

“Crazy House” Hang Nga Guesthouse, Dalat, Vietnam

This bizarre looking guesthouse was built from wood to appear as if it was built within the hollow of an ancient tree by architect and builder Hang Viet Nga and is known locally as the “Crazy House”.

The eccentric owner / occupier claims to have drawn influence from artists such as Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney, and has based much of the building’s design upon work in Northern Spain by Antoni Gaudí.

There’s few right angles to be found anywhere in the building, which is bursting with complex organic structures that echo natural forms such as the banyan tree.

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If we’ve whetted your appetite for crazy wooden creations, head on over to our Pinterest profile now and view some more choice examples – or, if you’ve found a tantalising timber usage that you’d like to share, get in touch over Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus!

Sep 12

Plant a Tree in Your Community

Here at Worktop Express® we have always prioritised our environmental practices. When it comes to trees we’re passionate about preserving the planet for future generations – that’s why we only purchase sustainably-sourced wood for our wood worktops, which is logged from forests with established replanting programmes. We visit our suppliers at least every three months (and usually more often) to ensure that our rigorous standards are being adhered to.

However, our company has now reached the sort of size that enables us to take our commitment to the environment one step further: as such, we’re delighted to partner with the International Tree Foundation in the year of their 90th anniversary.

Our funding will support community tree planting programmes both in the UK and Africa, with the aim of restoring and protecting indigenous trees and their surrounding habitats, and also raising awareness of the importance of trees through community engagement. The projects in Africa will involve local communities in the sustainable uses of trees to create viable methods by which income can be created, and in using trees to improve local nutrition and food security.

There are grants available of up to £1,000 for UK projects starting between 1st December 2014 and 1st of April 2015. These programmes last for up to a year, and we’re especially keen to support at least one within our home county of Gloucestershire. For African projects, grants of up to £3,000 are being offered for one year programmes that start between the 1st January and 1st April 2015.

If you work with or know of a community or group that you think may benefit from this excellent opportunity, then why not consider applying for a grant? The deadline for applications is the 17th of October, with chosen applications announced on the 28th of November 2014. Visit the ‘Community Tree Planting’ page on the ITF website for further details, and do check worktop-express.co.uk regularly for more updates – we’ll be creating a dedicated page for this project in due course.

Sep 08

Our range of oak wooden worktops is simply unrivalled. We have everything from standard oak worktops – featuring 40mm wide staves of varying lengths – all the way through to full stave worktops, which incorporate extra-wide staves that run the entire length of a worktop.

Whilst our full stave products are incredibly luxurious, some people prefer the ‘standard’ style of worktop, which is constructed with a variety of individual staves that show off unique colouration and grain patterns.

An excellent compromise comes in the form of our Deluxe Prime Oak worktops. They’re constructed from opulent 90mm wide staves of the finest oak that are more than double the width of the 40mm staves used in our standard worktops. The oak is classed as ‘Prime’ which means that the staves are hand-picked for aesthetic consistency and a uniform grain; so whilst they don’t have the ‘rustic’ appearance of our standard oak worktops, the even form is a beautiful match for both modern and traditional kitchens alike.

Oak is probably the most well-known species in the world. These trees are a symbol of resilient longevity and majestic charm, which is why the oak has been crowned the National Tree of England, America and more than ten other countries. It has been a key material in industries such as boat building and architecture for hundreds – if not thousands – of years, and to this day is only second in population to pine trees in the British Isles.

If you are interested in finding out more about this gorgeous timber product, then be sure to read our Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide ‘All about Deluxe Prime Oak Worktops’.

Don’t forget that you can also purchase worktop samples of Deluxe Prime Oak – or any of our other hardwood worktops – for only £5 including delivery, making it even easier to make an informed choice.

Deluxe Prime Oak Worktops: September’s Worktop of the Month

Sep 05

It’s been a very busy summer here at Worktop Express®, and as a result we’ve had lots of exciting news to share with you. With everything that has been going on, it’s been a little while since we checked in with our fabrication team – so we thought it was high time that we reviewed their summer efforts!

Our fabrication department seldom disappoint, and this time was no exception. So, without further ado, here are three choice bespoke block wood worktops for your delectation…

Deluxe Prime Oak

Deluxe Prime Oak Worktop with pencil edge profile and two sets of hotrod grooves.

Our Deluxe Prime Oak worktops are blessed with beautiful aesthetic uniformity and a grain pattern that looks simply sumptuous in all manner of kitchen settings. This 3 metre length of solid oak has had a subtle pencil edge profile applied all round to soften off the edges, along with two sets of hotrod grooves in a square formation. Our customers planned on mounting a hob in between the two, but having not yet chosen a particular model, they required that the necessary cut-out was left for them to complete onsite. Like all our fabricated worktops, once the adjustments had been made, two coats of oil were then applied to protect the wood and create a lovely finish.

Iroko

Iroko worktop with ogee edge profile, Belfast sink cut out, tap hole cut out and drainer grooves.

If you’re looking for a slice of exotic beauty in your kitchen then there’s little better than an iroko centrepiece. The warm caramel hues and iridescent figuring are unmistakable, and suits both modern and – like this example – more traditional kitchen themes. Cut down from a 3 metre length of the African timber, an ‘ogee’ edge profile was applied around 3 of the four faces, and around a cut-out suitable for a Belfast sink. We then cut a single tap hole and drainage grooves into the worktop surface, after which it was treated with oil.

Ash

Ash worktop with irregular cut out and hob cut out.

The newest timber in our worktop family, ash, is an attractive alternative to oak or maple. With light, honey hues and a fine, straight grain, it has enough unique charm to stand out in any kitchen. This particular piece was cut from a 3 metre length to include an irregular cut-out and a slimline hob aperture. As with all bespoke worktops that pass through our Gloucester fabrication facility, it was coated with two layers of oil to bring out the timber’s natural colour and give it a resilient finish.

If you are the proud owner of one of our bespoke worktops, we’d love to see the finished product in situ, so feel free to send us some photos! You can share them with us on our Facebook page, Twitter or even on Google +.

Sep 01

Save up to 10% Off Iroko Wood Worktop

Iroko – an irresistible hardwood – is our most popular non-European worktop. And if you haven’t come across it for yourself then you’re in for a treat this month – because all our iroko solid wood worktops have up to 10% off.

With its exotic appeal and warm hues, this African timber is ideal for a variety of kitchen themes: it’s equally well-suited for use as a centrepiece in ultra-modern kitchens or within a more traditional, country-style design. It works particularly well in high-contrast kitchen designs, alongside light-coloured units and in conjunction with bright colours – though it’s not only suitable for kitchens. Iroko is also perfect for offices, dining tables, shelves and any other solid wood surface you might require (all of our desks are made out of iroko here at Worktop Express® HQ!)

If you haven’t seen iroko up-close, we highly recommend browsing our worktop gallery, which contains a wide display of fine iroko worktops that have passed through our fabrication facility. Or, if you’d like to get your hands on a piece of iroko prior to placing an order, why not order one of our samples? They are made from worktop stock for a true representation of the quality of our timber, and are only £5 including delivery. What’s more, if you go on to place an order with us, the cost of the sample will be refunded against it.

And don’t forget our ‘nutshell’ guides: our ’All About Iroko’ article is packed full of interesting facts about this fabulous timber – from sourcing to grain structure and more.