Maple is a tree that’s as famous for its glorious, sweet syrup as it is for its elegant timber. Equally popular in contemporary and traditional style kitchens, maple is truly a multifaceted wood, and perfect for wood worktops. Keep reading to learn more about this timber’s origin, history and much more.
Maple is one of our lightest timbers, with a grain pattern that is not overbearing, but still exceptionally elegant. Its light tones will gradually darken over time – with diligent application of Danish oil – to take on a more golden hue that suits all manner of kitchen designs. This tree from the Acer family produces timber that is incredibly hard wearing, making it an ideal kitchen worktop.
We also offer full stave maple worktops that exhibit this beautiful timber in the best possible construction: made from extra wide staves that run the full length of the worktop.
For a closer look at maple worktops, have a look at the various photos in our Worktop Image Gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
The common name ‘maple’ covers a wide range of trees, with colouration and grain detail varying from species to species. Some species have much more decorative ‘curly’ grain that is generally referred to as ‘burl wood’. It can be very difficult to tell how attractive the grain of a maple tree is until sawn, though ripples and irregularities on the bark sometimes gives a clue.
A tree’s trunk is divided in to three main parts when it’s sawn for timber. The ‘heartwood’ is at the centre of the tree, with ‘wood’ in the middle and ‘sapwood’ in the outer layers. The timber for our maple worktops mostly comes from the middle part of the tree, to ensure they have a consistent grain and colouration.
Maple has a relatively straight grain, with attractive waves throughout and a fine, even texture. With small, evenly spaced pores and few imperfections, it creates one of the most uniform-looking worktops available.
SOURCE AND MANUFACTURE
Maple species are spread throughout the northern hemisphere, with species appearing in Europe, North America and predominantly northern and eastern Asia. Only one species is native to the southern hemisphere, and most timber comes from the North American varieties of this tree.
Relatively fast growing, and easy to cultivate, maple trees have become very popular in the gardens of Britain – largely due to their distinctive and often strikingly coloured leaves.
The timber generally reacts well to being worked upon, though very high powered tools can burn the wood without appropriate care. The species used in our worktops are particularly hard and so therefore do not wear quickly, with a lack of odour that makes the material ideal for making food utensils and worktops.
Our maple is sourced and manufactured entirely in Europe, allowing it to fall under FSC certification. With this certification we can ensure that our timber only comes from sustainable, properly managed sources. For further information on our environmental credentials, visit our Environmental Policies Page.
We’re proud to have delivered well over 200,000 worktops since our inception, comprised of more than 55,000 orders. It’s safe to say then that we’ve had our fair share of experience in the industry, and many of our staff are experts in the field of sourcing, fabricating and delivering worktops of the highest quality.
We only deal directly with manufacturers to eliminate the unnecessary cost and inefficiency of middlemen. We make regular visits to our manufacturing facility ourselves, meaning we’re also able to ensure that we can identify exactly where our timber has come from, and be sure that we live up to our strict environmental credentials. For further details, have a read of our ’Sourcing and Manufacture’ guide.
Our solid wood worktops are all manufactured using small sections of wood known as staves. The type of worktop dictates the width and length, but our standard maple worktops are constructed from 40mm wide staves that are chosen with consideration for consistent aesthetics. Our full stave variations have staves up to 90mm for bigger swathes of luxurious lumber.
For a blemish-free maple worktop surface that does not compromise on the character of the wood, the staves are joined together using high-pressure bonding and finger joints, which make for a strong and even finish.
Finger joints are named thus due to the way the staves are cut, so that they fit together like two hands of interlocking fingers; a construction which, along with a small amount of glue, makes sure the joint is stable and hard-wearing. For further information covering how our worktops are constructed, head over to our ’Construction Types Explained info guide.
- Tree Size: 25-35m tall, 1-1.2m trunk diameter
- Density: 630 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 615 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: (4680 N)
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 98.1 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 9.92 GPa
Maple is one of the most well-known and recognisable trees. A maple leaf is the centre-piece to both the Canadian flag and coat of arms, chosen as a symbol of strength and endurance.
Beyond the widely used timber, maple has been cultivated for its sap, which once boiled turns in to maple syrup. All species of Acer can be tapped for their sap, but only the trees in north eastern America and Canada have sufficient quantities of natural sugars for them to be used. Maple syrup is incredibly popular as an addition to pancakes, especially in North America – though in fact in recent years it has become increasingly popular throughout the world as a tasty addition to a host of sweet treats.
Beyond the sweet sap, maple has been used for all manner of wooden items for many years. It was originally used most widely in construction, but in recent years has become a popular material for producing anything from baseball bats, violins, drums and drum sticks to a plethora of other instruments, because maple is considered a tonewood (a wood that carries sound well).
Historically, it has been used in smokerys, for paper production and in ensuring the health of honeybee colonies due to its early pollen production.
In recent years we’ve done a lot to reduce costs through high-volume purchasing, improving our practices and becoming more efficient throughout the business. We have over 5,000 worktops in stock at any one time, ready to be delivered by our own 2Man delivery team for an exceptional level of service from start to finish.
Through our direct-to-public e-tailing business model we’ve been able to drastically reduce overheads compared to some of our competitors. Our systems also allow us to keep up with our stock-holding in real time. As a company, Worktop Express® strives to constantly improve products and offer worktops at significantly lower prices than our competitors.
We have a fantastic relationship with our European-based manufacturers, and we deliberately choose to deal directly with them, cutting out the need for any middlemen. We visit the facilities at least every 3 months (and usually much more often) to be sure that our rigorous high standards are fully adhered to
We’re very confident in our prices – with solid maple worktops available from only £140, our worktops represent excellent value for money whilst being of the highest quality possible. If you’ve not seen our solid wood surfaces for yourself, why not order one of our samples? They’re only £5 including delivery, made from existing oiled worktop stock and the cost can be deducted from your first order.
Maple will win you over in both contemporary and traditional kitchen settings, but we’d recommend mixing it with darker contrasting colours to bring out the beautifully bright tones of the wood. Because it’s such a pale, sunny timber, it’s highly suitable in kitchens that struggle for natural light: the surface will reflects light upwards, helping to brighten any room. A maple kitchen is subtle enough to stand up to bold accent colours, and will also benefit from accessories such as a maple butcher block or chopping board.