Wooden worktops provide a real style boost to any kitchen if they are well fitted and well looked after. One of the dilemmas often faced by people fitting or having wooden worktops fitted is whether to plump for a single stave worktop or to opt for a worktop that is made up of smaller staves (or pieces) of wood.
Those who choose the small stave option then need to decide what sort of joint to select within the worktop itself. A full stave worktop is a worktop made of lengths of wood that run the full length of the worktop, which means there is no need for joins along the surface of the worktop. Naturally a more expensive option than a worktop made up of smaller pieces of wood, single stave worktops are often out of peoples’ budgets. It’s for this reason that worktops made from smaller staves of wood are highly popular. These types of worktop are often called thin strip or stave worktops.
When it comes to choosing a worktop made from small staves of wood which have been joined together, there are two common types: finger joint and edge glued worktop panels. Which you choose will depend on your budget, the life expectancy you have in mind for your worktop and the look you’re hoping to achieve.
In very simple terms, a finger joint is made by cutting what looks like “teeth” into the ends of the staves of wood and matching them with alternate teeth which are cut into the ends of the facing staves. This process can either be carried out by hand or by machine. As you would expect, machine finger jointed wood is less expensive than hand worked finger jointed wood. Either way, once the wood is slotted into place with it’s matching image, it is glued in place to create a strong bond.
Edge glue worktop panels, again as the name suggests, are made by gluing the staves of the worktops together edge to edge. Although this method of fixing the staves is strong and functional, these types of joints often are less resistant to long-term wear and tear than finger jointed staves. This is commonly borne out in the price, which, relatively speaking is lower than finger jointed wooden worktop panels.
You will be able to recognise these different types of worktop panels easily by looking at the ends of each of the small staves of wood. On a finger joint panel, you will be able to see the interlocking “teeth” cut into the edge of each stave and on an edge glued panel worktop you’ll see straight “edge to edge” joins. Which you prefer, in many ways is down to personal preference, but in most cases, you’ll find that edge glued is a cheaper option because the production process is less labour intensive.
When you’re choosing your preferred wood worktop option, it’s a good idea to look carefully at all the options that fall within your budget before making your final decision. What’s more, if you have any doubts about which solution would work best in your particular kitchen, your worktop supplier should be able to guide you professionally and informatively. If, for any reason you find that they hesitate to give you the information that you need, that in itself is a good idea to choose another supplier.