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Expert advice to plan your beautiful wood kitchen

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
07 March 2023 min read

Whether you want to update the look and feel of your kitchen by replacing the existing worktops or fit out a whole new kitchen, we can help save you time, space and costly mistakes by cutting and joining the countertops to make worktop installation a doddle. 

In contrast to laminate and veneer options, solid wood worktops will cost you more, however, if correctly maintained, they will last a lot longer. A natural wood surface will add a beautiful warmth to any room. As wood matures over time, it adds more character and becomes richer in colour, so any room featuring solid wood will be completely unique. 

Wooden worktops are not the only purpose suited to our extra-wide timber selection. This range supports the creation of desktops, shelving, dining room tables and retail worktops in bars and cafés. 

Getting your countertops cut-to-size

To create wooden worktops, rectangular lengths of wood, called staves, are glued together to form a solid countertop. Each stave displays the attractive natural features of the timber. Woodshop Direct offers extra wide timber for worktops, manufactured from three or five whole-length staves, cut and pre-joined to the finished measurements of your project.

We can perform the different cuts you require, working to the shape and layout of your existing kitchen cabinets or plans for a new design. When joining your worktops together, the machinist who is glueing will pick the best grain and colour match for your worktop. We can cut and join wood for your worktops as follows:

  • Straight cut - cutting a worktop to the correct length 
  • Male and female joints for masons mitres (seamless 90-degree corners)
  • Cutting out apertures for sinks and stove tops to drop into
  • Cutting a curved end for a kitchen island 
  • Routing draining grooves in hardwood worktops at the sink (often used with Belfast sinks)
Planning for new worktops

The key to a successful installation is careful planning. A good place to start would be using a kitchen design software program, try this free 3D planner. Begin by establishing where your appliances are and then the corner from where you will start to install the worktops. From here, you can plan where the joints between your worktops should be and where the cuts should land. You want to aim for a visually balanced design, so aim to position the cuts in the timber where the joints will remain as strong as possible. 

Top tip: Avoid mistakes by double-checking your measurements before sending your cut list over to us.

Planning your worktop layout – important notes on joints

  • Ensure joints do not fall on or within 100mm of cut-outs.
  • Ensure cut-outs are at least 50mm from your worktop edge
  • Allow for expansion clearance (to the wall) of 1mm for every metre of the worktop.
  • You want an overhang at the front of at least 10mm.
  • Allow at least 120mm between heated cut-outs and at least 50mm behind for an electric hob or 120mm behind a gas hob in front of any Splashback over 100mm in height. 
  • Worktops bridging gaps for appliances with a length greater than 600mm, must be supported with wall battens to stop bending under load.
  • Avoid having a joint too close to a sink to maximise strength and prevent water damage. 
  • Where fitting over two adjacent appliances is unavoidable, fit an End Support Panel between the two appliances.
  • It’s best to install each worktop length in turn, starting at one corner and working along and around.

Top tip: People tend to sit (or sometimes stand) on worktops which is worth remembering throughout the installation!

Choosing your worktop timber

Worktop timber has to be tough, long-lasting and hard enough to withstand years of constant use. All our available cut-to-size timber materials have been chosen based on visual appeal and practicality to ensure you get the best out of your kitchen work surface. Several species are suited to kitchen countertops:

  • Oak
  • Black Walnut
  • Sapele
  • Iroko
  • Ash
  • Canadian Hard Maple
  • Cherry

All products are manufactured in our factory in Cornwall and come with natural wood grain details to give your home an authentic, warm and inviting atmosphere. From black walnut to steamed beach timber, choose from a variety of gorgeous finishes to suit your personal tastes, preferences and preferred use. 

Cutting and edging

All of our extra wide timber is constructed from three or five staves of the same width and pre-joined by our expert team using one of two joints:

  • Finished thicknesses between 20mm (min) and 27mm are ‘biscuit jointed’;
  • Finished thicknesses between 28mm and 70mm (max) are ‘finger joined’.

The number staves used will depend on the finished width:

  • 221mm (min) to 350mm constructed from three staves;
  • 351mm to 650mm (max) constructed from five staves.

For stability of the finished product, timber 20mm to 24mm thicknesses are limited to a maximum width of 350mm.

If you order wooden worktops from Woodshop Direct, each one comes pre-sanded to a 120 grit, with square or rounded edges as standard. However, we can cater to other edging requests and order in special blades where required. For a truly ‘finished’ look, consider having edging applied to the top and bottom edge of the worktop. Here is a quick guide for some of the most popular edge profiles:

  • Square edge – for an attractive chunky finish.
  • Rounded edge (12.0mm) – also known as ‘half bullnose’ or ‘full bullnose’. A soft, yet dramatic curve ideal for high traffic or family kitchens.
  • Pencil edge (6.0mm) – straight lines without the sharpness of square edges, with the radius of a pencil (smaller radius than a rounded edge)
  • Chamfered edge – a decorative edge featuring a flat bevel profile. More angular than a pencil and works best on lighter timbers such as oak or ash. Great for ultra-modern or classic Shaker kitchens with clean lines throughout.
  • Ogee edge – perfect for traditional or farmhouse kitchen designs and looks best ogee edge on top with a pencil edge on the bottom.

Worktops with an edge profile have a more ‘finished’ appearance, creating hardwearing edges. You can select your edge finish when placing your order online or request bespoke edging orders via telephone or email.

Fitting to cabinet bases

n most cases, your worktops will be mounted on kitchen base cabinets and fastened to front support rails at the top and brackets at the back. We recommend using 2 x size five panhead wood screws on the front and at least one at the rear. If a size five screw doesn't fit, opt for the maximum diameter that will pass through. Use slotted brackets when securing your worktops to the cabinetry to prevent splitting when the wood expands or contracts with temperature changes.

If the worktop bridges a gap, likely over an appliance, it will need to sit on at least 20 mm thick timber battens secured to the wall at a matching height. You will need the same worktop fastening brackets found in the cabinet to attach the worktop to these battens. 

If the appliances below the worktop produce excess heat or moisture (such as dishwashers or tumble dryers etc.) then we recommend using a reflective moisture barrier to stick to the underside and provide extra protection. 

When working beneath the worktop to look at the fastening positions, mark equal circles through the bracket holes with a pencil, remove the worktop, mark and drill the screw positions, and then place the worktop on top.

Top tip: A head torch is useful when working beneath worktops and within the cabinets!

Apply masking tape 18 mm from the end of a 3 mm drill bit to provide a drilling depth gauge. Carefully work around the screw positions and drill into the worktop to the set depth. Ensure you do not drill straight through the worktop!

Secure the worktop using size five wood screws - do not overtighten the screws as this could damage the wood.

Top Tip: Have an assistant hold the timber in place to ensure worktops do not move once placed on top of the cabinet base.

Joining worktops

We insert finger joints and biscuit joints when you need to butt two worktops together for a corner or straight run continuation to level the two worktops. These provide neat and professional-looking joints that are super strong. You can apply wood glue along the cut edge of the worktop to secure the joint further and prevent movement.


Maintaining the attractive appearance of wooden worktops will ensure they last for generations. Before installation, prepare your countertops with a few coats of oil. Coating freshly-cut edges with protective oil preserves the timber and defends it against changes to environmental heat and moisture levels.

Wood worktops from Woodshop Direct tend to be supplied as raw timber so customers can choose their own finish. We often recommend using an wood finishing oil combined with an Osmo Wood Protector, a user-friendly system which is easy to apply. For other interior finishes, check out our recommended range of products here.


Wooden worktops are simple to clean with soap and water. If using an Osmo Worktop Oil, all that is needed to clean the surface is an Osmo Spray Cleaner. When wiping down solid wood worktops, you need to use gentle cleaning products and materials. Avoid abrasive scrubbing brushes, and multi-purpose detergents, as the harsh chemicals can leach into the wood. Bleach and other chemicals can make the wood more porous and prone to water damage and stains. Always follow the guidelines for maintenance provided by the manufacturer of the finish. 


Wooden worktops are more easily stained and damaged by heat than other types of worktop. When you cook with pigmented foods and spices, such as beetroot and turmeric, use chopping boards to avoid staining the worktop surface. Chopping boards and Butchers blocks are a great way to maintain the longevity of your wooden worktop. Avoid cutting directly on the surface as it wears down the wood, enabling bacteria to enter the timber creating an unhygienic worktop. Use trivets, cork mats, or glass surface protectors to prevent scorch marks from hot pans.


If your solid timber worktops need repair, most kinds of damage, including surface scratches and imperfections, can be tackled by simply sanding back the surface and re-oiling. If the damage is minor, a few additional coats of oil will be required so that it will match the rest of the worktop. The entire worktop will need sanding back if there is damage across much of the surface to ensure a consistent finish. Repair small chips or scratches with a wax wood filler kit.