Wenge has been revered as one of our most opulent worktop choices since its introduction, and is now available in a Deluxe variant that is both stylish and is a great value alternative to the full stave variant. In this guide, we have delved into all the details you may need to know about this exotic timber, including the appearance, manufacture, origin and history.
This exotic timber is incredibly dark in colour, and can appear almost black in parts. With distinctive figuring and lighter flecks that are dispersed throughout the timber, wenge is often used as a substitute for ebony.
The Deluxe form of our wenge worktops feature wider 90mm staves and are highly desirable for contemporary kitchens, and are a perfect surface for suiting a black and white high-contrast kitchen.
If you would like to see further examples of wenge worktops close up, please visit our worktop gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
Wenge hardwood is one of the heaviest and hard-wearing timbers available, and is 50% more dense than oak. The wood with black grain and dark brown hues is from the heartwood of the tree, whereas the outer sapwood often has lighter flecks. Both heartwood and sapwood are used in wenge worktops, though the lighter flecks are usually only found on the underside of the surface.
Overall wenge has a straight grain and a very coarse texture. These characteristics are formed by the cells known as ‘vessel elements’, which are a distinguishing characteristic of hardwoods such as wenge. The cells are arranged in an elongated linear fashion, and are considerably larger than surrounding cells, which creates a distinctive pattern. Due to the dark colouration of wenge timber, the grain has a more subtle appearance than some other hardwoods — particularly once oiled.
SOURCING AND MANUFACTURE
Worktop Express takes great pride in only offering high-quality timbers that can be sustainably sourced and offered at unrivalled priced in comparison to high-street retailers.
The timber used to create our Deluxe Wenge worktops is sourced from western Africa, most commonly found in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. Great care is taken to ensure that the timber we purchase is from legal, verifiable sources who ensure that only the most sustainable supplies are used.
Due to the wood’s African origins, Deluxe Wenge cannot be certified by either the FSC or PEFC organisations. Instead we work very closely with our suppliers to make sure that these — and other African timbers in our range — have the required chain of custody and all evidence to support it.
Strict environmental policies and stringent checks ensure that we are only dealing with suppliers that promote environmentally aware policies and re-planting schemes. To monitor these practices closely, we only ever deal directly with the suppliers rather than using third-party agents, which has helped us build strong relationships with the manufacturers. We visit each supplier at least once every three months to ensure our standards are adhered to and help ensure that we are aware of any supply shortages.
Worktop Express fabricates and delivers kitchen worktops of an incredibly high standard, whilst offering them at an unbeatable price — simply compare our prices to any high-street retailers to see for yourself. Since inception we have delivered over 240,000 orders, making us proud to consider ourselves solid wood experts.
Find out more about these processes by reading our ‘Sourcing and Manufacture‘ information guide.
The standard worktops in our range are constructed from 40mm staves, but in this Deluxe form, the worktops instead feature much wider 90mm staves, which shows off the wood in an unrivalled manner. The extra-wide staves are jointed together to create a larger plank of wood suitable for the construction of wood worktops up to 4M in length.
By following our own rigorous specifications, our European manufactures are able to ensure that staves of the highest quality are chosen to construct each worktop, with great care taken to prioritise the most consistent and aesthetically pleasing staves.
Each stave is finger jointed with a small amount of glue to secure the joint in place. This method of constructions creates an elegant and stable surface that can be easily fabricated as required. Finger joints are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are also capable of withstanding the day-to-day stresses that kitchen worktops are put under.
You can find out further details about our worktop construction in our ‘Construction Types Explained‘ information guide.
- Tree Size: 18 — 30m tall, 1-1.25 m trunk diameter
- Density: 855 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 870 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: 8600 N
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 151.7 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 17.59 GPa
For centuries, the native craftsmen of the Congolese rainforest used wenge to craft masks and statues representing spirits and gods. Prior to mechanical methods, local craftsmen would down trees by building controlled fires beneath them and burning though the log until they had manageable sections to take back to their village. Fire was also used in the shaping of the lumber to create large statues, as it would make the wood soft and easier to carve.
Because of its density and strength, wenge has been widely used over time beyond the modern uses for furniture, veneers and of course worktops. Previous uses for the timber included railway sleepers, crates and boxes, mine props and even archery longbows.
Wenge was traditionally used in medicines, with varying applications of the bark being used to treat liver complaints, diabetes, hernias, skin diseases, constipation, fevers and rheumatism. Powdered bark has also been used to treat epilepsy, smallpox and sores. We’ll stick with worktops though, we think!
We keep more than 7,500 worktops in stock at any one time, which allows us to delivery directly to both public and trade customers swiftly and efficiently with our own 2Man delivery service. Great lengths have been taken to ensure that all the worktops in our range can be offered at the most competitive prices possible, combined with our excellent customer service. Our advanced online stock-ordering system allows us to keep costs down by minimising the quantity of ‘dead’ stock on hand, whilst also keeping wastage low.
By visiting our European suppliers every three months — or more — we are able to see the product and manufacturing process first hand and ensure that suppliers are adhering to our high standards.
Worktop Express is the largest importer of solid wood worktops into the UK, and we have now branched out into European markets with the aim of becoming Europe’s leading online wooden worktop specialist.
Deluxe Wenge worktops are available from just £395 for a 2m x 620mm x 40mm worktop.
The unmistakable black and brown hues of the timber combined with a stunning grain pattern make Deluxe Wenge worktops ideal for contemporary kitchens. We recommend mixing wenge worktops with bright whites, yellows and oranges to create a unique modern feel. Alternatively, accent wenge with industrial touches, concept lighting and stainless steel appliances.
Deluxe Wenge is also highly recommended for dining tables and office environments as it is both resilient and totally unique.
Find out more by visiting our Deluxe Wenge worktops page, where you will find information about the variety of sizes and their stock status.
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