Frequently asked questions about timber bench tops

Do you have questions about using timber bench tops? Many of your queries will be answered in these FAQs. There are many myths about using timber for bench tops, and some of these myths are also explained here.

Are timber bench tops expensive?

Our bench tops are high quality, with all slight grain imperfections filled and numerous coats of lacquer being applied to give a beautiful and durable finish. The price for a timber bench top is competitive with quality alternative materials.

We generally quote on a square meter basis, plus a delivery and fitting charge. In some situations it is necessary to prepare templates of the bench tops, to ensure the fitting is exact. Our prices include cut outs for cook tops and normal sinks. We charge slightly more for under-mounted sinks due to the additional work involved.

What timbers are available?

Bench tops can be made from a range of timbers, but jarrah and marri are the most popular. Oak, sheoak, blackbutt and spotted gum are becoming more popular. We can also source other timbers that customers fancy. Timbers that need to be imported from interstate are generally more expensive.

Do you manufacture bench tops with one single slab?

Most of our bench tops are manufactured by joining several boards across to create the required width. These boards are usually about 200 to 300mm wide, and the grain is matched to conceal the joins as much as possible. We also produce bench tops from single slabs if required, but these are more costly due to the high cost of obtaining suitable timber of the required width.

What do you use to finish the bench tops?

We generally use a two component polyurethane finish for inside applications. This is very durable and the most suitable for harsh use such as in kitchens. A tung oil finish can also be used in some situations, particularly for exterior use where the polyurethane finish tends to break down in direct sunlight.

What options are available for my bench tops?

Customers can choose from a range of timbers, thicknesses, finishes, edge profiles, and joins to create the greatest feature – a range of dark and light timbers, single slabs or laminated boards, thicknesses 20mm to 50mm, different standard edge profiles or natural edges, different joins to suit your design, and polyurethane or oil finishes. Tops come with cut outs for appliances and sinks.

What thicknesses are best for bench tops?

Bench tops can be made 20mm to 50mm thick, or even greater if required. The most common thickness we install is 40mm, as this creates a great feature and is structurally very sound. Tops 20mm or 30mm thicknesses are quite suitable to give a sleeker look, and are cheaper than 40mm or thicker tops.

Are timber bench tops suitable for harsh treatment such as kitchens and bars?

Properly manufactured with a durable finish, timber bench tops can withstand the normal harsh conditions in kitchens, bathrooms and bars. We have installed bench tops in situations such as a restaurant, football club, school dining room, and mower repair shop.

What is involved in manufacture and how long does it take?

A bench top with a premium polyurethane finish can take about two weeks to manufacture and finish. Firstly the timber needs to be carefully selected to suit the job. If the bench top is being manufactured with several boards across, each board is machined to the correct thickness and matched for grain. The boards are then glued together and left in a frame to dry. The rough timber is then sanded in a big belt sander to get it level, the bench top is cut to the dimensions, and the edges are machined to give the required profile. We cut out the areas for sinks and cook tops in the workshop before spraying so the cut surfaces can be sealed in the spraying process. All imperfections or slight cracks in the grain are then filled, often more than once. With timbers such as marri where the gum veins become a feature, these veins are filled with clear filler, and this can take considerable time. Four to six coats of lacquer are applied over a number of days with fine sanding between each coat, to give the final beautiful appearance.

I am having a builder or cabinet maker install cabinets. Can you install the bench tops?

Yes. We have worked with a number of cabinet makers, interior designers and builders to manufacture and install bench tops for the kitchens they install. They recognize that it is a specialist job to manufacture high quality timber bench tops. We also regularly install bench tops for flat-pack kitchens purchased from the major hardware stores.