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Choosing a Real Wooden Kitchen

Sep 5, 2008
Wood is a great material for kitchen cabinets because it is timeless and doesn't go out of fashion. Remember those 1970s bright orange kitchens and mushroom or turquoise bathrooms that everybody spends money on ripping out and replacing when they move into a house? Well, you don't want a kitchen that will go out of fashion in a few years or put off potential buyers when it comes to selling your house, choose wood for long lasting style.

There are companies who make and sell handmade luxury wooden kitchens which are custom designed for your kitchen and your requirements - great for an awkward shaped kitchen. They will also be able to advise you on layout and storage solutions.

Wooden cabinets come in many different woods, colours and stains - there is a huge choice so you won't be at all limited.

Light coloured woods include pine, birch, maple, oak, alder, beech, chestnut, elm, ash and hickory.

Rich coloured and dark woods include cherry, mahogany, ebony, walnut, rosewood, butternut and teak.

Wood cabinets can be either varnished or stained. A clear varnish allows the natural colour and grain of the wood to show through while protecting the wood. Unfinished pine cabinets look great, but if they are not protected with a varnish or UV protector, they can yellow. Stains do not protect wood, unless they have an added protector, but they colour woods. You can get many different colours and finishes in stains and varnishes. Here are some tips:-

1. For a natural finish, to see the natural colour and grain of the wood, use a clear varnish or a transparent stain.

2. An opaque stain will cover the grain in the wood.

3. Use colour names on cans of stain only as a guide. Purchase tester pots and use on a sample of wood to show the real colour, because woods have different porosity and stains will look different on different woods.

Caring for Wooden Cabinets

Once you have chosen your wooden cabinets, you will need to know how to care for them properly. Solid wood can be affected by temperatures and by the humidity of a kitchen and can warp and crack. Here are some tips on how to care for your wooden cabinets:-

1. Buy cleaning products for wooden cabinets or just use washing up liquid and water. Avoid harsh and abrasive cleaners.

2. Wipe clean with a cloth dampened with a very mild cleaner and dry with a clean, dry cloth.

3. Avoid cleaners containing wax or silicone - Wax can build up on surfaces and silicone can damage the the finish.

4. Take particular care of cabinets near the sink, dishwasher, hob and oven - These cabinets are likely to get wet and dirty. Dry off any splashes and clean stains immediately.

5. Do not hang damp cloths or towels over a cabinet door or leave touching a door. You do not want the wood to absorb any moisture.

6. Use a clean cloth for cleaning, not your general dishcloth which may be dirty.

7. Be careful when you are cleaning the oven. Do not let any oven cleaner or grease come into contact with wooden cabinets.

Accidents can and will happen so follow this advice to prevent permanent damage to your lovely wood cabinets:-

Water splashes or food spillages - Wipe immediately with soap and water or washing up liquid and water. Dry with a clean cloth.

Grease based stains - Use a dampened cloth to clean and then dry. Seek advice from your cabinet maker if the stain remains.

Candle wax or chewing gum - Freeze by using a bag of ice or an ice block. The wax or gum should become brittle and break into pieces. Clean area with mild detergent and dry well with a clean cloth.

Burns and scratches - Seek advice from the cabinet maker. You may be able to sand off the mark and re-stain but it is best to get advice and the cabinet maker may be able to repair the damage.

Dents and holes - Again seek advice from the cabinet maker. The company should be able to repair the damage by filling the hole or dent and re-staining or varnishing.

Remember to treat solid wood kitchen cabinets as carefully as other wooden furniture. The proper care will have them looking good for many years.
About the Author
Dominic is a writer and web designer who specialises in home decor and designer kitchens. Dominic represents Benchmark Interiors (http://www.benchmarkinteriors.co.uk), one of the UKs leading bespoke kitchen designers. In addition to full bespoke kitchens, Benchmark offer a wide range of free standing kitchen furniture made from wood sourced from renewable forests.
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