When purchasing a solid wood product, one of the greatest benefits you will enjoy is a sense of beautiful individuality. No two wooden worktops are exactly the same. Each piece of timber has a unique combination of features such as grain, rays, colour, knots, and other imperfections that make up the ‘figure’ of the wood. Please note that we use the term ‘imperfections’ lightly, as these features are innate to the wood, and are part of nature – as such, we see these as wonderful characteristics rather than flaws. Indeed, many such ‘imperfections’ are highly sought by our customers: these show that the wood is organic, solid, and that there is nothing artificial about it.
How pronounced these features are, and which are acceptable as natural characteristics – rather than defects – depends on the type of hardwood kitchen worktops you choose. You may have noticed that we offer both standard and Prime variants of our oak and beech worktops. In the standard worktops, you should expect to see more character and variation between each stave, whilst the Prime worktops are constructed from hand-picked staves of similar colour and grain structure.
Some of our standard worktops are more suited to traditional or country kitchens, where you may be trying to achieve a ‘farmhouse kitchen’ feel. Prime worktops are usually more suited to contemporary kitchens where a more consistent surface is more in keeping. However, if you are looking for a surface that is entirely without variation; that is free of character; and which is more of a ‘blank’ canvas, wood is probably not the choice for you: even our Prime worktops possess a textural richness and individuality – with no two pieces exactly alike – that cannot be replicated by a manmade material.
Knots are a common feature in many hardwoods, particularly oak. They are a circular fibre in a piece of timber that once formed the base of a branch or twig growing from the trunk of a living tree.
The knots that feature in our wooden worktops are considered ‘sound knots’ – a knot which is solid across its face, as hard as the surrounding wood, and shows no indication of decay.
Fear not (pun intended), only 3 sound knots are found in every square metre on our standard oak worktops and are no larger than 15mm in diameter. Pin knots that only appear on one side are allowed to be up to 5mm in diameter at a frequency of 10 / m². Knots are not present on our Prime worktops.
If you are looking for a worktop with farmhouse appeal, or simply like the character of knots in a worktop, consider ordering our standard oak worktops. Or, if you would prefer a less varied worktop, our Prime Oak worktops contain a lower proportion of these kinds of natural features.
It’s almost impossible to have a timber surface without any natural inconsistencies. Fortunately, some only enhance the unique aesthetic of hardwood.
Medullary rays are a common feature; these sometimes look like silky lines across the staves, though can sometimes appear as more unusual formations. They are the remains of radial vertical tissues that enable the transmission of sap across the growth rings of a tree.
They are much more commonly seen in some light woods, such as oak, than others.
Shakes (found on underside of worktop only)
All our worktops have a primary side and a secondary side, sometimes referred to as ‘A’ and ‘B’. On the secondary side, some imperfections may appear that are structurally sound, but would not be acceptable on the primary surface.
Shakes are one-such imperfection. They are where a lengthwise separation of the wood has occurred before the timber is cut into, usually because of considerable wood movement in high winds or when felling the log.
Sometimes they are filled with a small amount of wax, whilst on other occasions they can be sanded to a smooth finish that is almost indistinguishable from the rest of the timber.
Fills (found on underside of worktop only)
Though not a natural imperfection, we may occasionally use small amounts of wax filler on our worktops where timber staves have small holes, fractures or other deficiencies that mean they cannot be sanded to a smooth finish.
Care is taken to ensure that any filler used matches closely with the natural colour of the timber, often making them completely unnoticeable. Large fills (such as that pictured) will only be found on the worktop underside – or ‘B’ side – and will never affect the performance of the worktop.
If you would like to see a sample of our current worktop stock up-close, consider ordering one of our worktop samples for just £5 including delivery. Each sample is cut from one of our worktops, sanded and oiled on one side to give you a true representation of the finished product.