Frequently Asked Questions 

1. I love the way wood looks but I am concerned about deforestation.

Our product line is entirely made up of European species, harvested according to very strict regulations. All of these species are stable within their natural habitat. Our company acquires the wood exclusively from government-owned, FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council™) certified stands. Some species that we promote, such as cherry or walnut can make good substitutes for exotic species that are endangered.

2. Is an expensive hardwood better than a less expensive one?

The price of a certain wood type is usually directly proportional with its scarcity and the amount of labor involved in harvesting and processing. The price does not reflect directly the qualities that particular wood type exhibits. Therefore, cost should not be the main criterion when deciding upon the wood type. You should consider first the features you want for your wood top: very often, you will find that a relatively inexpensive wood is perfectly suited to your needs.

3. Are finger-jointed panels a cheaper version of the full strip ones?

Not at all. On contrary, producing finger-jointed boards is a more costly process than manufacturing the full strip ones. There are, however, two main reasons for undertaking it. First, by finger jointing, we make use of any piece of wood too short to be used as a continuous lamella. We can eliminate loose knots and other structural imperfections and bind the remaining healthy sections together. The wood is thus used to its full potential and we avoid wasting this precious natural resource. The finger-jointed boards are, therefore, the natural expression of an environmentally conscious approach.

Second, the finger jointing process eliminates most of the tensions existing in the wood structure. The resulting finger-jointed board will therefore have a greater dimensional stability than a full strip one. From our own experience, contractors, woodworkers, and individuals rather concerned about reliable structural features, such as solidity and durability, prefer the finger-jointed panels.

On the other hand, interior designers, kitchen remodeling companies and persons preoccupied mostly by aesthetics will most likely choose the full strip structure, because of its more appealing visual effect.

4. Can I use a lacquer finish for my wood countertop? What about shellac?

The lacquers will often tend to chip off after some time, so we don’t really recommend this type of finish for your countertop. Also, most lacquers will turn yellowish in time, which is another reason you want to avoid them.

Shellac can make a decent finish but, as it is usually applied in very thin coats, it will require many successive layers in order to be able to protect the wood properly, which translates in a long finishing process. We don’t recommend applying shellac in thick coats, unless you are experienced. Shellac will also “raise” the wood fiber when applied on such wood as beech and oak, making thus sanding between coats mandatory. Finally, as shellac is highly soluble in alcohol, incidental spills of alcoholic beverages are prone to leave marks on the wood surface.

5. How about staining the wood top?

Staining can do a lot of nice tricks with your wood top and also, solve a lot of problems. Staining can make ordinary wood look like a rare, exotic one or make it look antique or heighten its character. Stain can cover blemishes, discolorations, damages and other defects that can occur within the wood structure and can level the color variations.

Staining allows you to get precisely the color and nuance you desire and, if properly applied, does not obstruct the “natural” looks that we expect from wood. However, not all the wood species have a good stain acceptance. Generally, you should stay away from those woods that are oily by nature, such as walnut and black locust. Maple, oak and beech are the most common choices when it comes about stainable wood.

6. What if I change my mind about finishing in a few years? Can I varnish a previously oiled top? Can a varnish treated top be changed into an oil finished one?

A wood surface previously varnished can be oiled after the varnish has been thoroughly removed and the entire surface sanded. There are a lot of varnish-stripping products that are sold in hardware stores. Regardless which one you use, apply it abundantly and allow it enough time to do its work; being sparing with the material or rushing the process will most probably result in a half-done job.

Conversely, varnishing a wood top that has been formerly thoroughly oiled for quite some time can be a difficult if not impossible task. We don’t recommend this operation because the wood will probably have a pretty poor varnish acceptance. If you want to attempt it at any costs, however, you must first eliminate at least superficially the oil from the surface that is to be varnished.

Traditionally, that was done by sprinkling a highly hygroscopic substance (such as chalk powder or wood dust) and let it soak the oil up. A more convenient and less messy procedure involves using a paint and varnish remover that will eliminate to some extent the oil from the wood surface.

Regardless which method you employ, sanding and cleaning the area must follow it. You should start applying the varnish as soon as the area was cleaned and prepared. The wood top onto which only two or three coats of oil were applied is a much easier task. Simply allow the oil to go deep into the wood fiber (until the wood appears entirely dry), sand the surface, clean and proceed with the varnish.

7. I got a crack in my wood top. How did that happen? And how can I fix that?

The cracks appear due to a combination of three factors:

  • The wood was not properly sealed.
  • The environment turned drier. This is often the case in houses with radiant heating systems or rooms with air conditioning lacking humidifiers.
  • The segments of countertop on either side of the crack are solidly fixed to the cabinet box underneath.

To repair, mix a small amount of sawdust with a few drops of wood glue until the mixture becomes homogenous, and then carefully fill the crack. To prevent further cracks from occurring, make sure the wood’s natural movements are not hindered in any way. Make sure the fixing holes in the supports underneath are elongated on the direction of movement (see the Installing section for details).

8. My top warped. What should I do?

The warping occurs because either:

The supports underneath are not leveled or the distance between them is too big and the wood bent under its own weight.

  • Or, if oiled, the top was not oiled equally on both sides. In both situations, oil the top abundantly and evenly on both sides.
  • Place the top on a flat surface, the concave side facing down. It will eventually straighten up by itself. You can add some weights on the convex side, to speed the process. When completely straight, make sure the top is properly installed.

For any other questions please contact us by phone, fax or e-mail. We will be happy to assist you in any problems you may encounter.