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Different Styles of Oak Worktops

There are a multitude of different styles of Oak Worktops these days. The most common is known, incorrectly as it happens, as 'butchers' block'. Ninety percent of these worktops have 'staves' which are about 40mm wide. A stave is a single strand of timber that runs the length of the worktop. These staves are formed from short pieces which are glued together in a process called finger jointing.

Image - single finger jointed stave and construction photo and construction drawing

In general terms, the wider the stave the better quality worktop - the wider the individual pieces of timber are, the more expensive and valuable the timber. Ultra narrow stave worktops, i.e. those with 20mm staves, are at the very bottom of the league table. In an attempt to use up every conceivable part of the tree, timber for worktops like these have generally been processed a number of times in a low wage low cost environment, and are best avoided. They also look awful. There is very little inherent value in this narrow timber, as the cost is all in the processing.

With the 40mm being the most common, some worktops are made with finger jointed staves up to 150mm wide, however unless the individual pieces are also very long, these can look very block like and not very attractive. However in the right proportions, the wider the stave the cleaner look to the worktop, and the more the beauty of the grain get to shine.

40mm stave, 60mm stave, 80mm stave, ss. photos The wider the stave, the more visible the grain pattern and the more natural the worktop looks, but of course the higher the cost.

It is important to understand that there is a huge variation in the term 'Oak Worktop', which can make direct comparison difficult, especially over the internet.

There are also one or two specialist manufacturers who make ultra wide stave worktops which can have staves up to 550 or even 600 mm wide on occasion, however these attract a significant premium.