We’ve seen a growing trend in recent years of clients choosing man-made countertops such as quartz in their remodeling projects.  Quartz is very durable and non-porous which makes it an easy pick for clients, but there are still lots of great natural products that can be just as beautiful and durable if properly cared for. 

We feature a lovely hutch here in our showroom that has a show-stopping sapele wood countertop.    It’s a true stand-out piece and its classic, refined look has been duplicated in many of our clients’ homes.   We often get questions about the species of wood as well as the durability of the countertops, and we are always excited to share this information!

We source our wood countertops from a company called CraftArt.  They are known for their remarkable craftsmanship and durability.  The specific wood that our hutch features is sapele (pronounced sah-pelly) and is considered an exotic wood.   It’s slightly harder than maple yet softer than hickory.  Its strength is comparable to oak.  Contrary to popular belief, sapele is actually NOT mahogany, but is extremely similar and from the same family.  It is actually more durable than true mahoganies.

Sapele’s grain is what makes it so unique – it is interlocked and changes directions in frequent, irregular intervals.  Prior to WWI, the principal demand for the wood came from Germany where it was used for decorative cabinetry.  It is currently one of Europe’s most desired woods in the making of doors, windows and hardwood flooring.  Sapele has a wide variety of applications and is popular as a decorative surface for high-grade furniture such as book cases and cabinetry.

The sapele tree grows in Africa – specifically from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward through the Congo to Uganda.  The trees grow approximately 100-150 feet tall with a width of 3-5 feet.

Some fun facts on sapele:  

·         It was found in the propeller blades of German Zeppelins

·         The rich wood is currently used in the interiors of Cadillacs

·         Sapele is used to make many types of musical instruments such as guitars, ukuleles and harps

The wooden countertops we specify from CraftArt are finished with Waterlox which consists of tung-oil that is modified with a phenolic resin to provide chemical and water resistance as well as making them food safe.  Because the wood pores are sealed, the countertops are extremely stain resistant and can be maintained with just a mild cleanser.

Visit CraftArts website for more FAQ’s and information or stop by our showroom to view our beautiful sapele countertop!

Blog content courtesy of our lovely Showroom Manager and Project Coordinator, Lauren Katz.

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