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Wood: What's The Perfect Wood For Your Kitchen


Rebecca Silburn | 01 April 2016

A timber kitchen is a thing of beauty, but how do you decide which wood is best for worktops, cabinets or even flooring? There are so many different types, with such varying qualities, it can be hard to know what woods to use, and where.

At Davonport, we take some of the work out of the decision for you by only using the highest quality, most appropriate woods for kitchen settings all from sustainable sources. Woods we favour include European white oak, American black walnut, Tulip, and engineered timber.

Oak is a very popular wood for cabinetry as it is a durable, water-resistant hardwood which looks beautiful. We source our oak from Europe, rather than America for a number of reasons. In general, European white oak tends to have smaller grain and growth rings giving it a much subtler appearance which blends with a wide variety of interior design schemes. In addition, oak from Europe tends to offer much greater stability - meaning less warping - and better overall quality. We choose to source our oak from Europe as it is processed by region; usually a 30-70 km area, which provides a consistent colour thanks to the nutrients in the soil being relatively invariable over a small area like this. American oak, on the other hand, is sourced from all over the continent meaning that there is much more variation in the colour due to variations in soil conditions and the associated nutrients. The light colour of European oak makes it the ideal choice if you want a lot of wooden cabinetry, as it will not overpower the room.

Prime American black walnut is another hardwood and has a beautiful, rich brown colour, varying in tone from lighter pale browns to dark chocolate brown. The tone of walnut often contains hints of other colours, from greys to reds to purples, all of which provide a warmth to cabinetry and furniture.

Generally the grain of walnut is straight with some crown, but sometimes it can be wavy or curly, which gives an even more attractive appearance. If you're looking for a statement worktop, walnut is perfect. Many people choose walnut for individual features such as a breakfast bar or a section of an island. Walnut cabinets can look stunning if your kitchen space is big enough to balance the richness of the walnut. Wood is generally best avoided in areas where it will come into frequent contact with water. Alternative worktops such as granite would be more appropriate in wet zones.

In order to ensure longevity, we use only the hearts of these woods (the heartwood), as the outside layers (the sapwood) are more porous and will therefore shrink at a different rate than the heartwood causing warping. In addition, 'furniture beetle' is quite partial to the sapwood of oak and walnut, but will rarely damage heartwood, so using this for kitchen cabinetry can avoid beetle damage.

Whilst European oak and Prime American black walnut are great for accent worktops, cabinets and other furniture, when it comes to cabinet doors we use tulipwood, or American Poplar, thanks to its strength, light colour and stability. In fact, its stable nature and pale colour means that tulipwood has traditionally been used for hand painted kitchen frames and door components for many years, as it takes paint very well.

There's no doubt that wood is a truly versatile product, offering strength and reliability as well as looking aesthetically pleasing. Ensure that you get the most from your kitchen cabinetry by using wood appropriately; not only for aesthetics, but function as well. Our expert design team can advise you on which woods work best in different scenarios to give you outstanding function and beauty. Please drop in or call us for an expert opinion.

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