How to Identify High Quality Wood

Identifying high quality wood can be difficult with many furniture pieces looking great in the store, only to prove flimsy and cheap once you purchase them and use them over time. Here’s how to identify whether or not wood furniture pieces are high quality.

How to Identify High Quality Wood Furniture, Countertops, Desks, Tables
How to Identify High Quality Wood

Identifying High Quality Wood

The highest quality material for wood furniture is solid wood. Solid wood furniture is made from single pieces of wood or wood boards that are glued together to make panels. Trees, after all, are only so wide.

Solid wood comes in hardwood or softwood. Hardwood comes from trees that grow slowly. It is more dense and resistant to dings. Common hardwood species include Walnut, Ash, Maple and Cherry. Softwood comes from trees that grow fast. It is less dense than hardwood. A common softwood specie is Pine.

Why Choose High Quality Wood

When made with high quality wood and built with a solid construction, wood furniture can last for decades and sometimes even centuries. Solid wood furniture can be refinished and repaired easier than furniture made of other materials.

Solid wood furniture is typically sealed with a high quality finish, which helps the furniture to last even longer. Grothouse solid wood surfaces are either sealed with our exclusive Durata® Permanent Waterproof Finish or Original Oil™. Both are high quality finishes that keep the surfaces looking like new and protect them from everyday use.

Finding out if the furniture is made of solid wood is the best way to identify the quality. Be sure to find out if the solid wood was used to craft the entire piece or just certain parts. Another way to ensure you are purchasing a high quality piece is to shop at the right places, like Grothouse for example. Every piece crafted at Grothouse is made of high quality wood.

Learn more about the high quality wood surfaces custom crafted by Grothouse on our website

#GrothouseThings #HighQualityWood #SolidWoodFurniture

Purchase Grothouse Original Oil on our Online Store

Grothouse Original Oil keeps custom solid wood countertops properly moisturized and ensures your countertops look as beautiful as the day you got them. This oil can be used on wood countertops, butcher blocks, soapstone, salad bowls, wooden utensils and more.

Walnut Butcher Block Countertop Finished with Grothouse Original Oil
Walnut Butcher Block Finished with Grothouse Original Oil™ | Design by Stonington Cabinetry & Designs

Grothouse Original Oil™ is a fragrance-free, heavy weight pure mineral oil. It does not contain nut oils, making it food safe and hypoallergenic.

The oil applying process is simple and easy. All you need is a paper towel or cotton cloth to spread a thin coat of oil over the surface. Be sure to oil the sides and the exposed bottoms of the wood countertop. For best results, allow the oil to soak in overnight. If you need to use your countertop or butcher block top right away, then remove any excess oil with a dry cloth and your piece will be ready to use.

Grothouse Original Oil™ should be applied once a week for the first month after receiving your wood surface. Thereafter, the piece should be oiled at a minimum of once per month or if the surface appears visually dry.

How to Purchase Grothouse Original Oil

Purchase Grothouse Original Oil Food Safe Finish for Custom Solid Wood Surfaces Soapstone Countertops Wood Utensils and More
Grothouse Original Oil™

Grothouse Original Oil™ may be purchased through our online Shopify store. We offer 3 types of bundles, single bottle, case of 4 bottles and case of 12 bottles. If you purchase one of the bigger bundles you could save up to $103.

Purchase Grothouse Original Oil to keep your solid wood surfaces properly moisturized to last a lifetime. Please contact us if you have any questions by giving us a call at 610-767-6515 or emailing

#WoodFinish #CustomWoodCountertops #ButcherBlocks #GrothouseThings

Wenge Raised Pastore Counter in Home & Design Magazine

Home & Design magazine featured a simple and serene condo renovation in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Written by Julie Sanders, the renovation included a kitchen design by Sarah Kahn Turner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. that features a Grothouse Wenge Raised Pastore Counter for the kitchen island.

Wenge Raised Pastore Counter in a Kitchen in Alexandria, Virginia featured by Home & Design Magazine
Kitchen Design by Sarah Kahn Turner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. | Image Source: Home & Design Magazine

Celia Welch, the interior designer, had a goal, given by the client, to make the condo comfortable, elegant, chic and urban. The client’s main priority was to have one flowing, light-filled space. Welch and kitchen designer Sarah Kahn Turner collaborated to redesign the outdated kitchen. To achieve these goals, the first step was to remove the wall that separated the kitchen from the open-plan living and dining room.

The open-plan created space for a long kitchen island featuring a quartz counter, over which the Grothouse Wenge Pastore counter hovers with waterfall sides and room for four stools.

Welch stated, “We didn’t want the traditional look of a two-level countertop. This adds a little extra dimension.”

Wenge Raised Pastore Counter

Wenge is a heavy wood that has high resistance to abrasion and high bending strength. Its strong grain and subtle color variation creates its dark, sleek attractive appearance.

The Wenge counter for this kitchen was custom crafted to feature a Roundover edge profile. The Roundover edge profile exhibits a simple look to contribute to the simple and serene feel of the rest of the kitchen. The counter is finished with Grothouse Original Oil™.

Click here to see the rest of this townhouse renovation. Visit the Grothouse Countertop Image Library to see more kitchen designs with a Wenge Raised Pastore Counter.

#GrothouseThings #CustomWoodCountertops #HomeandDesignMagazine #SarahTurner4JenniferGilmer

Counter Intuitive

A kitchen counter has long been a anchor of kitchen design, and can offer a dramatic focal point, splash of color, textural interest, sense of warmth or visual contrast.

Counter Intuitive Surfacing Material Traits and Trends
Counter Intuitive | Design by Sarah Kahn Turner of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath

Kitchen & Bath Design News magazine recently surveyed over 500 kitchen dealers and designers across the U.S. and Canada. The survey looked at material trends, including most desired surfacing traits, views on the importance of surfacing regarding design and functionality of the kitchen, and what percentage of their kitchen remodeling budgets dealers’ and designers’ clients devote to surfacing.

The growing role of the kitchen has expanded the functional role of countertops from durable food prep surfaces to multi-functional places for cooking, eating, entertaining and more.

77.6% of designers/dealers rate the importance of countertops to the look of the overall kitchen extremely important. 58.3 of designers/dealers rate the importance of countertops to kitchen functionality extremely important.

52% of the kitchen remodeling budget is spent on counters, as they are  increasingly being viewed as a worthwhile investment, particularly if they are beautiful, durable and long lasting.

What adds value to a countertop? The top three desired aspects are durability, beauty and ease of maintenance. Other desired countertop qualities cited included fits with overall design, color pattern options and a classic look that won’t get dated too quickly. Most desired aspects of surfacing materials include:

  • • Durability
  • • Beauty
  • • Low maintenance
  • • Affordability
  • • Fits with overall design
  • • Color/pattern options
  • • Classic look/won’t get dated quickly
  • • Fits with overall kitchen
  • • Unique look
  • • Trendy
  • • Creative fabrication options
  • • Flexibility


Clients’ top concerns with choosing counters:

  • • Price
  • • Damage from stains/scratches/heat/wear and tear
  • • Maintenance requirements
  • • Color/pattern going out of style too quickly
  • • Not getting something that looks unique/personalized
  • • Not looking “real”
  • • Natural imperfections
  • • Fabrication concerns


Wood is Counter Intuitive

Wood is counter intuitive because it contains all of the most desired aspects of surfacing materials including durability, beauty and low maintenance. Wood is trendy and classic at the same time. No matter how old a wood counter is, it looks right in the design. Durata® Finish can be applied to wood counters so no maintenance is required. Each wood countertop is custom made to the clients’ specifications, so each top is something unique and personalized. Visit to learn more about wood counters.

#CounterIntuitive #KitchenBathDesignNews #CustomWoodCountertops #GrothouseThings

How to Prepare for Valentine’s Day Dinner

Preparing Valentines Day Dinner can be stressful, but with the right food preparation surface and advice your meal can be a success.

How to Prepare for Valentines Day Dinner with Custom Wood Countertops Butcher Blocks
How to Prepare for Valentine’s Day Dinner

The first step in preparing Valentine’s day dinner is to select the recipes you want to make as an appetizer, entree and dessert. Choose something that you and your date will both enjoy and that you have confidence to make to ease stress.

Allrecipes provides plenty of appetizer inspiration, from crab-stuffed mushrooms to brie cheese fondue. Country Living offers over 40 romantic dinner recipe ideas like butternut squash ravioli, bucatini with winter pesto, pancetta and brussel sprouts linguine and more. The Food Network made a list of decadent chocolate desserts perfect for the holiday, like chocolate raspberry mousse candy cake and chocolate cheesecake.

Once you have selected the recipes you are going to make and purchase all of the ingredients, it is best to ensure that you have all of the tools you need for preparation. The most important tool is the surface that you will be using to prepare the food.

Grothouse solid wood butcher blocks are the surface preferred by top chefs at home and in restaurants. Butcher blocks are very hard surfaces and knives keep their edge far better because the blade slides between the wood fibers much like cutting into a firm brush. Grothouse Original Oil™ Finish is a heavy weight pure mineral oil used for lasting protection that is food safe and  hypoallergenic. It does not contain any Tung oils. You can prepare your meal with no concerns if your date has any nut allergies.

One of the best ways to prepare Valentines day dinner is by cooking together! It is a fun and romantic way to start the evening and enjoy each other’s company. Together, you can start the night by preparing a delicious meal and end it by enjoying it together!

#ValentinesDayDinner #ValentinesDay #ButcherBlocks #GrothouseThings

Transform Any Space with Wood

Transform Any Space by incorporating Wood Countertops, Accents, Shelves, Wall Niches into your design
Transform Any Space with Wood | Design by Bunker Workshop

Wood is the 1 ingredient that will transform your space, states Mitchell Parker of Houzz in his article The 1 Ingredient That Will Transform Your Kitchen or BathAnd of course, we couldn’t agree more! Our favorite application of wood is in the form of countertops, but it can also be used in many different ways to revamp and warm up a space.

Wood Applications

Wrap Your Kitchen Island Cabinetry in Wood to Make it a Focal Point and Add Warmth
Wrapping Kitchen Island Cabinetry | Design by Tru Kitchens

Wrapping your kitchen island cabinetry adds warmth to the space while also visually making the piece the focal point of the space. Designed by Todd Wiley, Tru Kitchens, designed this transitional space to have a kitchen island wrapped in Walnut. A Walnut kitchen bar top matches the island and provides a seating area.

Custom wood wall niche creates a level of privacy and adds warmth to the space
Custom Wall Niche | Design by Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath

Incorporating a cool wall niche into a space creates a cozy and unique area. Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath designed this Asian-inspired bathroom with a custom Teak wall to match the vanity top and bath tub and add a level of privacy.

Open Wood Shelves add warmth and provide plenty of storage space with easy access
Open Shelves | Design by Jon de la Cruz for House Beautiful KOTY 2017

Open shelves expose the American Black Walnut in this kitchen design by Jon de la Cruz for House Beautiful magazine’s Kitchen of the Year 2017. Weaving in wooden accents is a relatively quick and easy way to add warmth and these ceiling-high pantry shelves do just that.

Make Support Columns part of the design by wrapping them in wood
Wrap Support Columns | Design by Kitchenscapes

Kitchenscapes incorporated a support column into the design by wrapping it in Walnut to match the custom walnut countertop on the bar.

There are many different ways to incorporate wood into a design to completely transform the space. Whether it is intending to add warmth, storage or a unique niche, wood is a versatile material that is used to transform any space. See more designs by visiting the Grothouse Countertop Image Library and by liking Grothouse on Facebook.

#CustomWoodCountertops #DesignTrends #Wood #GrothouseThings

2018 Countertop Trends

As the new year approaches, we look forward to upcoming 2018 countertop trends. From floating counters with hidden supports, to exclusive curated woods, countertop designs in 2018 are bound to be even more beautiful and functional than in years past.

2018 Countertop Trends: Floating Counters with Hidden Support

2018 Countertop Trends Floating Wood Countertops with Hidden Support Brackets for Kitchens
Design by Neena Corbin Kitchens Inc.

Floating counters with corbels and angular support brackets are a thing of the past as we move into 2018. In 2017, about 40% of Grothouse wood countertops include some form of hidden support. Paul Grothouse predicts that this trend will continue to grow in popularity as we move into 2018.

2018 Countertop Trends: Kensington™ Wood

2018 Countertop Trends Kensington Wood Countertops for Kitchens and Bathrooms
Design by New Ravenna

Kensington™ Wood is the second in a series of specially curated woods, hand selected and sourced by Grothouse. The wood is noted for its darker colors with action in the grain. Its striking visual appeal and lustrous finish will make this one of the top wood choices for designers in 2018.

2018 Countertop Trends: Quiet Open Floor Plans

2018 Countertop Trends Wood Countertops Quiet Open Floor Plans for Kitchens
Design by Eva Andersen of Teakwood Builders

Homeowners are beginning to regret the open floor plans they have chosen. Though they love the look when they walk into the space, it tends to be loud and offers little privacy or individual spaces. This also requires expanding the floor plan in other areas to meet the needs not being met by the open floor plan.

Creative room dividers like glass cabinetry to separate spaces will be used more often in 2018. Sound absorbing materials are a way for designers to combat this issue. The best sound absorbing material is wood.

“Wood helps with quieting down a space because it eliminates sharp sounds when dishes and glasses are placed on it,” stated Jennifer Gilmer, CKD, of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd.

Stay tuned for more 2018 countertop trends as we enter the new year by liking Grothouse on Facebook and following @grothouseinc on Instagram!

#2018CountertopTrends #CountertopTrends #KitchenDesignTrends #DesignTrends #GrothouseThings

Kensington Wood Countertops by Grothouse

Kensington Wood Countertops exhibit a striking visual appeal and lustrous finish. Kensington is the second wood species in a series of specially curated woods, hand selected and sourced by Grothouse.

Kensington Wood Countertops, Butcher Blocks, Bar Tops, Tables exclusively available at Grothouse
Kensington Wood Counters exclusively available at Grothouse

The appearance of Kensington countertops are often described as a cross between Walnut and Zebrawood, with hardness and characteristics like Sapele Mahogany. Kensington wood countertops, butcher blocks, bar tops and tables are exclusively available at Grothouse.

Designing Kensington Wood Countertops

Kensington countertops can include any edge profile and any countertop feature. They can be crafted in any construction style. The type of construction style chosen may dictate the wood finish applied. End grain Kensington butcher blocks are always finished with Grothouse Original Oil™. Flat grain and edge grain Kensington counters may be finished with Grothouse Original Oil™ or Durata® Waterproof Permanent Finish.

Kensington Wood Countertops crafted in Edge Grain Construction Style by Grothouse
Edge Grain Kensington Wood Countertops
Kensington Wood Counters crafted in Flat Grain Construction Style by Grothouse
Flat Grain Kensington Wood Counters
Kensington Butcher Blocks crafted in End Grain Construction Style by Grothouse
End Grain Kensington Butcher Blocks

Visit the Grothouse Countertop Image Library to see designs featuring Kensington Wood Countertops.

#KensingtonWoodCountertops #KensingtonWood #CustomWoodCountertops #GrothouseThings

North American Wood Countertops

One material that is – and always has been – environmentally friendly is wood. North America has an abundance of forests with beautiful woods used to craft high quality furniture, such as custom wood countertops. North American Wood Countertops are made from responsibly harvested wood that is harvested, replanted, and renewed to an almost limitless degree.

North American Wood Countertops custom crafted by Grothouse
North American Wood Countertops

North American Wood Countertops

Below are some of the most popular North American wood species used for countertops designed for use as kitchen countertops.

American Cherry

American Cherry North American Wood Countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, offices
American Cherry Wood Countertops

Cherry makes up 3% of the commercially available hardwoods in the United States. It is prominently used to craft high end furniture and cabinetry worldwide.


Ash North American Wood Countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, offices
Ash Wood Countertops | Design by Lisa Martin of Signature Custom Cabinetry

Ash makes up 4% of the commercially available hardwoods in the U.S. It is best known as the wood used to craft baseball bats due to its shock absorbency, but it is also used for furniture, flooring, cabinetry and other millwork.

Hard Maple

Maple North American Wood Countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, offices
Maple Wood Countertops | Design by Bunker Workshop

Hard Maple makes up approximately 8% of the commercially available hardwoods in the United States, and is prevalent in the northern and eastern states.

A small percentage of maple trees produce special figure such as bird’s eye or curly maple, which is sought after for its visual interest and appeal. Hard maple is very heavy and strong and has a fine, uniform texture with a close, straight grain.


Walnut North American Wood Countertops for kitchens, baths, offices
Walnut Wood Countertops | Design by Stonington

Walnut makes up less than 1% of the commercially available hardwoods and grows throughout the eastern U.S. Walnut is one of the most popular wood countertop choices for kitchens today.

White Oak

White Oak North American Wood Countertops for kitchens, bathrooms and commercial restaurants
White Oak Wood Countertops | The Trolley Car Café at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®

White Oak trees grow across the eastern and southern U.S., comprising 15% of the commercially available hardwoods. White oak is used to make furniture, cabinets, flooring and millwork and is the preferred species for wine and whiskey casks.

To learn about more North American wood countertops and see other wood species available, visit the Grothouse Countertop Design Guide.

Like Grothouse on Facebook and follow @grothouseinc on Instagram for daily wood countertop design inspiration!

Source used: Northwest Hardwoods

Wooden Car Parts

Wooden Car Parts are some of the latest wood innovations to reduce vehicle costs
Wooden Car Parts | Photo via The Japan Times

According to an article written by Robert Dalheim of Woodworking Network on August 17, Japanese car manufacturers are considering substituting wood for steel in order to make vehicles lighter. With wood pulp being 20 percent lighter than the weight of steel and five times as strong, wooden car parts are at the top of Japanese researchers’ considerations for reducing the weight of a vehicle.

As manufacturers move toward churning out electric cars for a mainstream consumer base, reducing the weight of a vehicle will be crucial. Automobile suppliers are hopeful because a reduction in car weight would require fewer batteries, saving costs.

Cellulose nanofibers are currently being used to create various products, such as ink and transparent displays. These fibers are obtained by breaking down wood.

In cars, the chemically treated wood fibers will be kneaded into plastics while simultaneously being broken down into nanofibres, slashing the cost of production to roughly one-fifth that of other processes. This process is referred to as “the Kyoto Process,” named after Japan’s Kyoto University who’s leading the research.

“This is the lowest-cost, highest-performance application for cellulose nanofibers, and that’s why we’re focusing on its use in auto and aircraft parts,” said Hiroaki Yano, professor at Kyoto University who leads the research. Yano’s team is working with several automakers in Japan to complete a prototype car built with cellulose nanofiber parts. They hope to complete it by 2020.

“We’ve been using plastics as a replacement for steel, and we’re hoping that cellulose nanofibers will widen the possibilities toward that goal,” stated Yukihiko Ishino, a spokesman at DaikyoNishikawa, which supplies parts for Toyota and Mazda.

Stay tuned for more wood innovations like wooden car parts by liking Grothouse on Facebook and following @grothouseinc on Instagram!

#GrothouseThings #WoodenCarParts #CustomWoodCountertops #WoodInnovations

Source:  Woodworking Network and The Japan Times