Worktop Express Blog

It’s been another productive month for our bespoke cutting team; so, before October gets too spooky (Halloween is just around the corner, after all!) we thought we’d update you on a few of our fabrication favourites…

European walnut worktop with Belfast sink, hob, and irregular cut outs, and endcap

Our first noteworthy custom worktop is this beautiful specimen of European walnut. Our fabrication team have made cuts for a Belfast sink and hob, plus an irregular cut out so that the worktop will fit snugly around tricky corners or inconsistencies in the intended kitchen wall! We’ve also applied an endcap to give the worktop extra protection at the edges.

Full stave oak worktop with 90mm endcaps

Speaking of endcaps, please take a closer look at this full-stave oak kitchen worktop. At first glance you may think it has not really been fabricated at all; in fact, this stunning counter has been augmented by the addition of luxuriously wide 90mm endcaps on both sides. These endcaps will protect the timber’s endgrains and prevent the wood from exposure to any adverse conditions (extreme heat, for example).

Wenge worktop with Belfast sink cut out, tap hole cut outs, and irregular cut out

Finally, we couldn’t resist including this opulent, dark piece of wenge. Note the Belfast sink cut out without edge profile (an unusual feature which creates a defined look) and sink cut out complete with two tap holes. A cut out at the back completes the look. By treating this superb timber with care and precision, this worktop can now function fully in our customer’s kitchen both on a practical and aesthetic level.

These images are but a small selection from our ‘Fabrication Collection’; but don’t just take our word for it, please try our service yourself and witness the results first-hand! And be sure to let us know what you think – our fabrication team are always delighted to receive feedback.

Worktop Express sponsored player Henry Trinder

The rugby season is well underway – which means we are due for an update on Worktop Express® sponsored player Henry Trinder! Indeed, this week we were thrilled to hear that Trinder has been selected for the national squad ahead of the QBE internationals which are to run throughout November. The tournament sees England playing matches against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina at their home ground, Twickenham.

This will be Henry Trinder’s first international cap after he missed out on being selected for last year’s Six Nations competition due to an ankle injury. The Swindon-born centre prioritises quality over quantity, as his start to the season shows – an ethos Worktop Express® are proud to echo with our superb quality solid wood worktops! His strong, fighting performances for local team Gloucester impressed England’s head coach Stuart Lancaster; so much so that as soon as an opening became available in the squad, Trinder was naturally his first choice

The tournament begins on the 2nd November as England take on long standing rivals, Australia. The two teams are notorious for their excitingly tense matches: no one will ever forget Wilkinson’s 100th minute goal in the 2003 World Cup final! It is their first meet of 2013, and on the back of England’s narrow defeat in last year’s QBE internationals, we hope to see Trinder and the rest of the team come out in true fighting form.

So, if you happen to be taking a trip to Kingsholm any time soon, be sure to look out for our pitch-side banner – and keep your eyes peeled for any keen Cherry and Whites supporters, these might just be members of the Worktop Express® team. If you have any further questions about our partnership with Gloucester rugby, or would like to find out more about our solid wood worktops, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Come on England and Henry, we’ve got our fingers and toes crossed for a win… you can do it!

Please Note: As of 27/10/2014 we have changed from WOCA to HABiol Oil for all pre-oiling orders. This oil is compatible with Rustins Danish Oil and can be used across the full range of our wooden worktops (DIY or pre-oiled). Find out more here: Improvements to our Pre-Oiling Service for Wooden Worktops

Woca Natural Worktop Oil 1L

Our pre-oiling service has proved increasingly popular, much to our delight – we’re therefore very pleased to announce that, after a period of extensive development, we’ve come up with a way to make it even better…

The expansion of the pre-oiling department and introduction of sophisticated machinery means that our service will be automated for the first time, guaranteeing efficiency and the best finish for our customers. We’re still planning to pay close personal attention to each and every worktop, though, implementing a comprehensive five-stage quality procedure which will necessitate independent checks to each worktop throughout the process.

Rustins Danish Oil is not suitable for usage in the oiling machine and as such we’ve worked hard to find another product of the same calibre. WOCA Oil – a specialist industrial blend of which our machine will be using – gives a similar finish to Rustins but works slightly differently: an ingression oil, it penetrates the wood (Rustins is known as a ‘surface’ oil) and dries to a hard, durable and water-resistant seal. Like Rustins, it is suitable for use in contact with food.

Within the pre-oiling process, all worktops will be fully sealed on the top and bottom sides, edges and end grain. This product is a penetrative oil, as mentioned, as such requires fewer coats to achieve the desired finish. We recommend that all customers purchase a worktop aftercare kit to adequately maintain and care for wood worktops in the future.

Please note that Rustins Danish Oil is still the recommended aftercare product for DIY worktops (those that are not fabricated or subject to our pre-oiling process). We have a great deal of experience with Rustins Danish Oil and it is competitively priced and very easy to apply. WOCA requires a slightly more complex initial application and is well-suited for our machine; as such it is our choice for the pre-oiling process as performed professionally within our warehouse. Both products are excellent and yield an extremely similar, aesthetically pleasing finish.

For more information on our oil types and their recommended applications, please view our pre-oiling information guide or visit our FAQ page.

If you thought that we’d already covered all the unusual uses for wood that exist in our great wide world, you’d be mistaken – this month we’re venturing into new territory: solid wood headphones! We’re beginning to think that this miraculous material has no limits…

Griffin Technology combine the natural beauty of wood with the demands of modern technology, creating a product that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical (a bit like our wood worktops.

Most exciting of all is Griffin Technology’s timber catalogue. This techno-savvy company uses some of our favourite wood species in their work; and we can’t help think that these carefully chosen raw materials help make each pair of headphones totally unique and luxurious. Walnut is a prime example: its durability, wavy grain pattern and rich colour positions it perfectly for use in the company’s ‘over-the-ear’ luxury range. This timber has bags of character and a great deal of charm – it’s little wonder that walnut is one of the most popular choices here at Worktop Express®.

Also featured is another of our stalwarts – beech! The in-ear headphones and our solid beech worktops are blessed with similar qualities: this timber has no natural knots so it is an easy and versatile material to work with. The uniform, unblemished finish of beech makes for stylish headphones and – even more importantly – an attractive kitchen worktop.

So, there’s another wacky wood item to add to the list. Remember, if you happen to learn about any other unusual situations where wood takes centre stage, we would love to hear from you: the list is always growing!

Wacky Wood Uses: Solid Wood Headphones
Walnut ‘over-the’ear’ headphones image courtesy of Griffin Technology

Late last year, Worktop Express® supplied the Morris family (who were to be featured on BBC1’s ‘DIY SOS’ programme) with a variety of products to use in an ambitious regeneration project.

After 20 years of faithful service as a paratrooper in the Royal Engineers, Mo Morris was discharged from the army on medical terms. Not only did he lose the career that he loved, the family also had to move out of their home in the army quarters, leaving them homeless and looking for a place to live. Finally moving into a modest three bedroomed house, the cramped conditions were uncomfortable and ill-equipped for Mo in his current physical condition.

Worktop Express® could not have been happier to help this family out, especially after hearing their story. We supplied some of our gorgeous oak kitchen worktops plus accessories (including worktop oil) so that these could be fitted and maintained with ease.

Therefore, when Tuesday night came around (the air date of the programme), a great sense of anticipation was in the air! It was truly moving to see how pleased Mo and his family were with their home improvements; moreover, we couldn’t help marvelling at how fantastic our wooden worktops looked in their new, wheelchair-friendly kitchen. It’s no surprise that oak is so popular – the beautiful grain pattern and characterful features ensure that this worktop complements any space!

So congratulations to the Morris family – we hope that your new worktops provide years of faithful service, and thank you for including us in your story.

Oak Worktop 3M X 620 X 27mm

Calling all telly and worktop fans: be sure to tune in to BBC One at 9pm this evening for DIY SOS.

Worktop Express® supplied oak worktops, oil and accessories to the family featured in the programme, which were used as part of a life changing transformation to their home.

Don’t miss it!

Solid Worktop Chopping Boards

We were pleased to see a feature on ‘The Ten Best Chopping Boards’ in The Independent last week – and were even more pleased to see that wood featured highly!

Of course, this got us thinking about our own solid worktop chopping boards, and what we’d pick if we had to make our own shortlist: this is very difficult because we love all our timbers dearly and we also think each chopping board has its own unique charms. But sometimes tough choices must be made for the good of all; so, after much sweat and tears (okay, not really, but it was tough!) we’ve narrowed the list down to our top three…

Number Three: Bamboo.

October’s Worktop of the Month, bamboo makes for a board that is naturally water resistant, resilient, and environmentally friendly to boot!

Number Two: Wenge.

An exotic African timber, wenge is a darkly luxurious material that is also incredibly dense – 50 times denser than oak – which makes it perfect for cutting and food preparation.

Number One: Oak.

To put it simply, you can’t beat a bit of oak – from ship-building to flooring to worktops, this timber has proved enduringly popular the world over. Warmly attractive, oak is dense, hardwearing, and blends in to any kitchen.

Made in the same careful manner as our wooden worktops, our chopping boards are a useful addition for both protection and aesthetic appeal. And don’t forget, we always love to hear from you – so if you’ve got another one of our timber cutting boards in your kitchen and you think it deserves a mention, let us know…

We are feeling extra environmentally friendly this month and we have our sustainable friend bamboo to thank for that! Our inimitable bamboo worktops are constructed from individual compressed sections of the material that are layered upon each other: a product unlike any other.

Now, we might have just missed ‘World Bamboo Day’ (18th September) but that won’t stop us celebrating the wonders of this striking, natural material. After a bit of exploration, we discovered some interesting facts that you might not know:

  • Bamboo is actually a plant, not a timber – which is why our bamboo worktops differ in construction from the rest of the collection.
  • It can withstand extreme conditions: after the Hiroshima nuclear bomb in 1945, bamboo was the first plant to re-green at the bomb site. Houses built by the ‘National Bamboo Project’ were the only ones to withstand a 1992 earthquake that reached 7.6 on the Richter scale (that’s big!) in Limon, Costa Rica.
  • Beside its traditional uses, bamboo can also be turned into clothing; used to make wind turbines in its compressed form; and features as an ingredient in many drinks including ‘Bamboo Beer,’ which apparently tastes very good…
  • Bamboo equals brilliant boards: due to its light weight, versatility and strength (it’s considered to be even stronger than steel!) bamboo makes a perfect material to use for all sporting ‘boards’, such as surf, snow and skateboards.

Last, but definitely not least, we must praise the environmental benefits of this versatile plant. Bamboo is so friendly to our planet that it releases around 35% more oxygen than a standard tree. Furthermore, it only takes between 3 and 5 years to fully mature, making it one of the most sustainable natural materials around. Its extreme durability, paired with hygienic qualities and interlacing sporadic nodes makes it a truly valuable kitchen worktop.

So bamboo, we thank you: October is proud to have you as its ‘Worktop of the Month’!

September was a busy month for us so we are taking some time to appreciate the great worktops we have been sending to our customers. Years of hands on experience, combined with love and attention paid to every worktop, make our bespoke cutting service an affordable and valuable investment. Below we have chosen three of our favourite pieces of work – it was hard to pick but we’ve managed to narrow it down!

First we have dark and durable full stave wenge with an irregular cut out and end cap: beautifully rich, this timber makes a stunning kitchen addition. The 90mm wide staves run the full length of the worktop – full stave wenge is a product that is unique to Worktop Express®. Furthermore, a wenge end-cap has been fitted for protection against a free standing oven such as an AGA. Often purchased for aesthetic reasons too, this 90mm thick piece of timber not only prevents damage, but makes it look great too!

Our next top pick is one of our most exotic timbers – iroko. This worktop has been fabricated so an overmounted sink can be installed within it; the timber’s high oil content means it is naturally waterproof, making it an ideal material for use within the kitchen.

And finally, we have two pieces of oak that have been biscuit-joined to create a bespoke, extra-wide worktop. The undermounted sink cut out is complemented by another one of our fantastic fabrication choices. A brilliant protective measure, drainer grooves prevent water from pooling on your worktop which can lead to it becoming stained or damaged – a small and worthwhile investment.

So there you have it: September’s Top Three. This is just a small selection of the hundreds of fabricated worktops we send to satisfied customers every month. We are really proud of the care our team takes with every order, something which has been demonstrated here. So, roll on October – we can’t wait to see what our fabrication department comes up with next!

Gloucestershire Business Award

The prestigious Gloucestershire Business Awards were held last night at the Cheltenham Racecourse, and we were pleased to be in attendance (not to mention a little nervous!), awaiting the results of our two shortlisted awards – Best Business Website and Family Business of the Year.

The competition was stiff, with great local companies like Neon Play also having been shortlisted as finalists for the website award. Imagine our surprise – and delight – when the presenter announced that this year’s Best Business Website was none other than Worktop Express®!

We couldn’t be more thrilled – and we also couldn’t be more grateful to our hard-working web team. Our website has been developed solely in-house and the team have worked tirelessly to make the site the best it can be for our customers: accessible, informative, and easy to use on any device. We like to think that it’s a one-stop resource for all your solid wood worktop needs!

We’re always looking for new ways to update and improve our website – such as adding new information guides and content to guide customers through the worktop-buying process – but if you have any suggestions for us, please do not hesitate to contact us.