If you’re thinking of installing new wooden worktops in your kitchen, choosing the right wood can be a tough choice; there are just so many to choose from. However, whilst woods such as oak, beech and maple are excellent choices, there are a number of exotic woods that will really make your kitchen something special. Here’s the background on some of the best exotic woods you can use for your kitchen worktops…
Iroko is a beautifully rich and warm wood that starts as a yellow colour but matures to a dark caramel tone with age. It is a large hardwood tree found on the west coast of Africa and is sometimes referred to as African Teak (although it’s not actually related to the teak family of woods).
Bizarrely, the iroko tree is actually feared in some cultures and is shunned or given offerings to appease it. The Yoruba people, an ethnic group from southwestern Nigeria and southern Benin, believe that the tree is inhabited by a spirit known as theyIroko-man and anyone who sees his face goes crazy and dies, and also that anyone who cuts down an Iroko tree curses their family to a life of misfortune.
It is a very durable wood and as well as worktops is used for a variety of other purposes, such as boat-building, furniture and certain musical instruments.
Zebrano is the wood of Microbernalia. It is sometimes known as Zebrawood, although this name is generally given to any wood with a finish that resembles the stripes of a zebra. It is imported from central African countries Gabon, Cameroon and Congo. It is a pale yellow colour and has a dark chocolate coloured grain running through it. This effect is created by quartersawing the wood.
It has been used for a wide variety of different purposes, including furniture, handgun stocks, exotic guitars skis and tool handles. Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz have also used Zebrano in their cars in the past.
Wenge (pronounced ‘weng-gay’) is a tropical timber that comes from the Millettialaurentii, a legume tree native to Cameroon, Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea. It has a very dark brown colour, one of the darkest wood colours available for worktops. It is a very hard and heavy wood, which makes it perfect for worktops, flooring and staircases. It is also commonly used in musical instruments, particularly guitars and bass guitars, and in the marking of archery bows.
It has many other names, including Faux Ebony, Dikela, Mibotu, Bokonge, Awong, and African Rosewood.
All three of these woods will add something a little different to your kitchen and make your worktops a real focal point of your kitchen. If you’re looking to make a statement with your worktops, then any of these would be a great choice, whether you have a contemporary or traditional kitchen. If you’re unsure what type of wood best suits you, then most worktop companies offer a sample service where they will send you small samples of each type of wood before you commit to buying.
About the author: Elizabeth Melton is a freelance writer and interior design expert from St Albans. She owns various properties across the South East of England and in her spare time enjoys walking her three dogs. This piece was written using www.worktop-express.co.uk/ for research.