All About Zebrano Worktops: A Worktop Express® Nutshell Guide
Zebrano worktops are a favourite of many due to their distinctive grain and exotic feel. In this guide we’ve covered everything you’ll need to know about the zebrano timber, including its history, origin, and science.
The surface of a solid zebrano worktop alternates between pale toffee and deep brown figuring, creating a striking colour variation; as such, the wood zebrano (or zebra wood as it’s sometimes referred to) clearly stands out from the crowd and often divides opinion on whether it would suit certain kitchen environments. Personally we’re big fans of this unusual wood here at Worktop Express®, as it’s incredibly hardwearing and looks fantastic as the centrepiece of a modern kitchen interior.
Each worktop is unique, with a distinctive grain pattern setting it apart from anything else, to give your kitchen that air of exclusive desirability. To see some beautiful examples of zebrano, head over to our worktop gallery.
TYPE OF WOOD AND GRAIN STRUCTURE
What is zebrano? Well, like our other timbers (apart from Bamboo which is classed as a perennial plant), zebrano is a stiff and dense hardwood with a very unique grain pattern which is either wavy or more straight and interlocked – depending on how it is sawn. It has a relatively coarse texture and open pores that make for a stunning stripy worktop when quartersawn like our solid wood worktops.
Hardwoods have a type of cell known as ‘vessel elements’ which aren’t present in softwoods. These cells run longitudinally through the wood and are larger than other surrounding cells, leaving distinct cavities in the wood known as pores. The dispersion of these pores dictates the distinctive look of zebrano’s grain, which includes medium to large sized pores with no specific arrangement.
SOURCING AND MANUFACTURE
Zebrano (or Microberlinia brazzavillensis) is found in West Africa, typically in the lowland forests of Cameroon and Gabon.
We make it a top priority to source wood that is not only hard wearing and eye-catching but also environmentally sound. We’ve conducted extensive research and gone through great lengths to make sure that our African timbers are sourced from legal, sustainable supplies. We will only ever deal with suppliers that promote proper environmental policies and re-planting schemes where possible. To find out more about our environmental credentials, have a read of our ’Environmental Policy’ page.
Worktop Express® fabricates and delivers solid wood worktops of the highest quality at exceptional prices. We have delivered over 200,000 worktops on more than 55,000 individual orders, and after years of hard work, are now considered experts in the field of solid wood. We deal directly with suppliers rather than using any third-party agents, allowing us to maintain close relationships with them and anticipate any issues that may arise; indeed, we visit our suppliers at least every three months to ensure that our high standards and expectations are being fulfilled. To find out more about this process, visit our ’Sourcing and Manufacture’ guide.
Our standard worktops are manufactured from 40mm staves, a selection of which are finger jointed together to create a larger plank of wood suitable for construction of our solid wood worktops. Utilising our own rigorous specification for guidance, our European manufacturers work closely with us to ensure that the highest quality staves are chosen for our solid zebrano worktops, prioritising consistent and aesthetically pleasing staves free of manufacturing defects.
To join the individual staves in the most elegant and stable way, finger joints are used with the addition of small amounts of glue to hold the joint in place securely during fabrication. Finger joints are not only aesthetically pleasing, but are able to withstand the stresses that a worktop must go through on a daily basis.
For further information on how our worktops are manufactured, visit our ‘Construction Types Explained’ information guide.
- Tree Size: 40-50m tall, up to 1-1.5 m trunk diameter
- Density: 780 kg/m3
- Average Dried Weight: 805 kg/m3
- Janka Hardness: 8610 N
- Modulus of Rupture (bending strength): 122.8 MPa
- Elastic Modulus (‘stiffness’ of wood): 16.37 GPa
Zebrano’s history is less familiar than many other hardwoods, though because of the combination of characterful figure, density and hardness, it has been used for a variety of furniture, instruments, ship building many other uses. Thin veneer slices of zebrano have been very popular in recent years, having been used in high-end car interiors and flooring.
In traditional medicine in the Congo, zebrano leaves were pounded to a mush and rubbed on the body, as they were believed to have medicinal effects on the body – particularly for treating rheumatism, arthritis and oedema of the legs. There is evidence of this wood being used to craft tools by the local ‘Baka’ people who crafted spears from the wood; they chose the zebrano because of its stiffness and apparent natural resilience to rotting.
In modern times, because of zebrano’s more limited availability, it is prized for fine furniture as well as our finest quality solid wood worktops.
At Worktop Express® we go through great lengths to ensure that we can offer zebrano and other A-grade hardwood worktops at the most competitive price possible. We have over 5,000 worktops held in stock at any one time, which means we’re able to deliver directly to the public and trade swiftly and efficiently using our own in-house delivery service.
We have integrated specialist online stock ordering systems that assist us in reducing the quantity of dead stock and wastage (which also reduces overheads). Using our ‘direct-to-public’ e-commerce business model, we’ve been able to drastically reduce costs compared to some of our competitors.
Our team work ceaselessly to bring a number of industry firsts to the market, and are always striving to have the most up-to-date products possible, backed by first-rate customer service.
We make trips to our European suppliers at least once every three months. We don’t use any agents or third parties to make these trips as we believe it’s very important to see the products and manufacturing processes first hand. We’re looking to continue our success and expand further in to European markets throughout 2014.
Zebrano worktops stand out as a superb centre-piece to any kitchen, office or wherever else you might consider using our worktops. They are well suited to modern kitchen settings, especially when combined with dark contrasting coloured cabinets and stainless steel upstands and splashbacks.
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