All About Prime Oak Worktops: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide
If you’ve made it to this page then you’re clearly looking for further wisdom regarding Prime Oak worktops. This page has all the information you’d ever need about these wooden worktops, including the science, manufacture and sourcing of this tremendous timber.
Not only is oak a truly resilient and hardwearing hardwood, but it also looks wonderful in your kitchen; a truly delightful wood, oak makes for an excellent worktop material, thanks to its golden colour and characterful grain patterns.
Prime Oak differs from our standard oak worktops in that it boasts very few natural imperfections and an incredibly even finish. If you’d like to see an example of some of the fine pieces of Prime Oak that have passed through our hands then take a look at the Prime Oak worktop gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
Apart from Bamboo (which is a perennial grass), all the worktops available from Worktop Express® are made from hardwood. Conversely you’d expect all softwoods to be significantly less resilient than hardwoods, but in fact this isn’t always the case – some softwoods are just as hard.
What really sets hardwoods apart is the distinctive cell structure, which has a big part to play in the creation of oak’s fantastic grain pattern. All hardwoods possess an important type of cell known as a vessel element, which isn’t present in softwoods. These longitudinal cells are considerably larger than neighbouring cells and leave slight caveats in the wood called pores that show up when quartersawn.
The existence of these pores – where they arise and what size they are – is what gives Prime Oak such a distinctive grain, coupled with a refined, attractive appearance. Standard Oak has a coarser grain and larger pores, creating a more ‘rustic’ look, whilst Prime Oak is hand-picked for its tight, linear and more ‘closed’ grain. This gives it smooth appearance with a uniquely even colour tone.
The exquisite grain of our Prime Oak worktops creates a lustrous and unblemished surface that fits perfectly within both modern and more traditional kitchen designs.
SOURCING AND MANUFACTURE
Here at Worktop Express® we make great efforts to ensure that we source only the hardiest and most attractive timbers; and extensive research has led us to deduce that certain species are more suited to worktop materials (and manufacture) than others. This is why we insist that all the oak used to construct our Prime Oak worktops is sourced in Europe. Oak’s American counterpart has a sparser grain pattern and a significantly higher sap content.
We ensure the oak we use for our Prime Oak worktops is manufactured solely from FSC-certified timber and in its place of origin (Europe. By doing so, we are proudly confident that all the timber we use has the environmental benefits of encouraging sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint through reduced airmiles, whilst being both robust and attractive – perfect for our Prime Oak worktops. Do peruse our Environmental page for more information on our policies.
We are highly skilled in the sourcing and manufacture of timber worktops. Indeed, since the inception of Worktop Express® we have been proud to sell over 200,000 solid wood worktops – and have made it our policy to deal directly with the manufacturers to ensure that tight controls are in place and our high standards are met. We only obtain timber of the highest quality and have developed efficient and accurate processes to ensure minimal wastage. More details regarding this process can be found in our ’Sourcing and Manufacture’ information guide.
When choosing timber for our Prime Oak worktops, we make sure that time is spent in order to select staves that are aesthetically consistent, prioritising uniformity of grain pattern and colouring. These 40mm staves are the timber sections that are joined together to create a larger wooden plank suitable for worktop construction.
Each stave is high-pressure bonded and finger jointed in such a way as to create a beautifully unblemished surface that is more uniform than our standard oak worktops, without losing any of its character.
Finger joints are made by cutting a set of corresponding cut-outs into two pieces of wood so that the two staves fit together like interlocking fingers – hence the name. These joints are used in place of more basic, less aesthetically-pleasing joins, but also provide maximum durability and economy (stronger than a butt or lap joint). Glue is added to ensure the join remains solid, stable and visually appealing.
For more information, please visit our ‘Construction Types Explained’ information guide.
- Tree Size: 24-35 m tall, 1-1.5 m trunk diameter
- Density: 720 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 680 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: (4,980 N)
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 97.1 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 110.60 GPa
Over time, oak has gained notoriety for its natural beauty and resilience against both age and the elements, becoming one of the most well-known tree species worldwide. It’s been recorded in British history since the interglacial periods, hundreds of thousands of years ago, and was the most common tree in our forests around 5,000 years ago (and is second only to pine today).
Carpenters and other woodworkers have used oak as the staple timber of their work since medieval times due to its hardness and durability. Even its Latin name, ‘Quercus robur’, means strength. It has been a prized hardwood timber for thousands of years and was the primary boat building material until the mid-19th century, though today it still remains popular for architecture as well as a wide range of wooden furnishings – including our Prime Oak worktops.
If you look at the curved beams of medieval barns and hammerbeam roofs of churches and cathedrals throughout Europe, you’ll notice that oak can be shaped to fit a wide array of shapes and angles. This is possible through working with the fresh timber (known as ‘green’ oak) immediately after felling.
After the Great Fire of London in 1666, bylaws were established that prohibited the use of wood for the construction of inner-city buildings, which led carpenters and joiners to adapt their woodworking skills to meet other demands, including solid oak flooring and furniture.
According to current records, the largest oak currently standing in the British Isles is estimated at between 800 and 1000 years old and is known as the ‘Major Oak’. This resident of the infamous Sherwood Forest is estimated at 23 tonnes with a girth of nearly 13m.
Today, in our world of plastics and metals, oak stands out as the perfect statement of inimitability, with every single one of our oak worktops having its own unique characteristics. Superior manufacturing standards and a dedication to sustainable sourcing ensure that Worktop Express® customers will always get the most out of their chosen timbers, so there’s never been a better time to be able to fully appreciate oak and its innate beauty.
Worktop Express® has made great strides in reducing the price of oak and other hardwood worktops through high-volume purchasing and efficient processes. At any one time we hold over 5,000 worktops in stock at our various depots throughout the UK, enabling us to deliver directly to the public and trade, through our own in-house delivery service.
Advanced online stock ordering systems minimise the amount of dead stock and wastage, which in the long-run reduces costs. With these efficient processes and our ‘direct-to-the-public’ e-commerce model, we have been able to drastically reduce overheads to allow us to market up-to-date products at lower rates than any other solid wood e-tailer.
It’s with great pride that we are considered leaders in our field of solid wood specialists. By cutting out the middleman and building a network of expert internal support at every level of the business, we are able to deliver high-quality timber to our customers at a highly competitive price. We visit all suppliers at least every three months ourselves to ensure our high standards are maintained – we don’t use agents. This level of expertise enables us to be the largest importer of solid wood worktops to the UK, and we will be expanding further in to European markets throughout 2014.
With such competitive prices, the quality of our Prime Oak has to be seen to be believed – don’t just take our word for it. We offer a full sample service to allow you to test our products in a manageable quantity before committing to a large order. Alternatively you can visit our showroom to see a comprehensive range of our beautiful solid wood worktops in the ‘flesh’.
Prime Oak prices: available from £110 for a 2m worktop.
As one of the most versatile materials around, our Prime Oak worktops offer a sleek, uniform appearance that is full of innate charm. The lightness of oak pairs beautifully with cream or off-white accessories, though can also stand up to a bright accent colour: try emerald or cobalt walls or doors for some natural vibrancy. Visit our prime oak worktops page for further information on how to purchase one of these stunning work surfaces.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: