All About Beech Worktops: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide
Beech, glorious beech; a timeless timber that has always been one of the most popular solid wood worktops in our range. On this page you’ll find all the information you’ll need to know if you want to become an expert on this wood’s science, origin, history and more.
With its distinguished grain and warm natural colour, our beech worktops are extremely hard wearing and excellent value for a variety of settings. The characterful grain and golden colouration make it perfect for a farmhouse kitchen; though it looks just as home in a more contemporary setting.
We also have Prime Beech worktops that are even more elegant, thanks to special selection of top grade staves that make for more uniform grain patterns.To get some up close and personal photos of all of our fine worktops, take a look at our Worktop Image Gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
A relation of oak and chestnut trees, beech is a strong, very hard and heavy wood with tiny pores and large conspicuous ‘medullary rays’, similar in appearance to maple. These medullary rays denote the characteristic found in wood, referring to radial sheets or ribbons extending vertically through the tree and across the growth rings. When quartersawn, these rays are responsible for producing beautiful figures in the grain.
This relatively inexpensive wood has reddish brown heartwood and lighter sapwood, the latter of which is what is most commonly used for our worktops. The quartersawn surfaces used for our rustic beech worktops exhibit a silvery fleck pattern, a tight and straight grain, with closed pores creating a fine texture and even grain structure.
SOURCE AND MANUFACTURE
Here at Worktop Express® we only source the most hardy and beautiful timbers – and beech is no exception. It naturally grows along mountain slopes and rich uplands, and its toleration to shade makes it one of the few forest trees that can thrive beneath the canopy of taller species.
Beech is highly adaptable to being worked and bent through the process of steam bending, whilst retaining its strength. It’s excellent for a variety of woodworking, wears well, becomes smooth with wear and does not impart flavour, odour or colour to food it is good for food utensils and containers, making it perfect for a slick beech kitchen.
Courtesy of wikipedia/Grib_skov
Having now delivered over 200,000 worktops, we are now considered experts in sourcing, fabricating and delivering only the highest quality worktops at exceptional value. We deal directly with our manufacturers to exclude the need for any middlemen, whilst allowing us to make regular visits to our manufacturing facilities. If you’re interested in finding out more, have a read of our ’Sourcing and Manufacture Guide’.
We spend a great deal of time ensuring that the staves selected for our beech butcher block worktops are visually pleasing whilst being of consistent colouration and grain density. These staves are the individual sections which make up one of our fantastic solid wood worktops; on the standard worktops they’re measured at 40mm, whilst the deluxe variations are a grand 90mm wide.
The staves are joined together using high-pressure bonding and finger joints, which make for a strong, yet blemish-free beech kitchen worktop surface without compromising on the character of the wood.
Finger joints get their name from the way in which they join two pieces of wood together. The pieces of wood are cut so that they fit together like interlocking fingers, which with the addition of a small amount of glue ensures the join is solid and stable. To find out more about the construction of our worktops, visit the ‘Construction Types Explained’ information guide.
- Tree Size: 40-50m tall, up to 2-3 m trunk diameter
- Density: 700-900 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 710 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: (6460 N)
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 110.1 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 14.31 GPa
Beech has been considered a valuable timber since the Middle Ages, but is recorded as having usage in a literary capacity since ancient times. Before paper was invented, people would use the smooth and pliable bark of the trunk to carve words in to. These scripts were then cut out of the bark and known as a “bok”, which eventually went on to form the modern word “book”.
Courtesy of botanical
Whilst beech is now frequently used for flooring as well as our solid wood worktops, it has a variety of other historical uses as well. In the past it was used to make pestle & mortars, snuff boxes, toys, baskets, brush handles, as well as a variety of other furniture. In the 19th Century, beech trees were planted and grown to support the furniture making industry around the Chilterns. Local men called ‘bodgers’ who were skilled wood turners used lathes to make chair and table legs from beech wood.
Beech has always been popular for creating storage and utensils for food because the beech wood transfers no taste or smell to anything it comes in to contact with.
Beech trees can live for hundreds of years, with coppiced stands having been recorded at over 1000 years old! It’s reckoned that beech seeds were originally brought across to the British Isles after the last ice age. The settlers used the beech tree for its leaves and fruit (both of which are edible) as well as for its highly workable timber.
Today, solid beech is still widely used for furniture and architectural construction, as well as being a popular fuel of choice in smoke-houses to add a clean smoked flavour to hams, sausages, cheeses and even some German beers.
Over the last few years, we’ve reduced costs through high-volume purchasing and efficient processes. At any one time we have over 5,000 worktops in stock, ready to deliver directly to the customer using our own in-house delivery service.
We’ve been able to drastically reduce overheads using more efficient processes and our ‘direct-to-public’ online retailing model, allowing us to ensure we’re always offering up-to-date products at significantly lower prices than any of our competitors.
There’s no middlemen in our manufacturing cycle – we deal directly with factories in Europe that we check at least every 3 months to ensure the standards that we have set out are being closely adhered to. Building this strong relationship with the manufacturers has led us to become an expert in our field, and we’re now the largest importer of solid wood worktops to the UK.
We’re incredibly confident in our prices – beech wood worktops can be yours to enjoy from as little as £90 each! Matching beech upstands and beech chopping boards are also available. If you’d like some proof of our timber’s excellent quality before making a full order, however, then why not take advantage of our sample service. These miniature worktop sections are available for just £5 including delivery, and are made from existing stock to give you an accurate representation of the finished product.
With a beautifully even finish, beech makes for a handsome solid wood worktop, whilst having the excellent food-safe properties of being flavourless and odourless. Think about pairing a beech worktop with white or cappuccino coloured cabinet doors for a homely yet elegant look.
Whether you’re interested in a beech block worktop 40mm (27mm thickness available too!) or would simply like more information, please visit our solid beech worktops page.
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