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New to the market! Hardwood wall panelling.

We've officially launched our new range of hardwood veneered modular panels which we've been developing for the DIY market over the last 6 months.

Although we started the business based on providing MDF panelling (four years ago now) I always felt that my heart was really into wood. Don't get me wrong, MDF, particularly the moisture resistant variant, is a fantastic material and very versatile; But it isn't wood is it? Doesn't have the tactile feel of wood, light doesn't play off the grained and waxed surface the same way as wood, doesn't look as "high end" as wood?

My dream with this business was always to offer home panelling with the very finest level of craftsmanship at great prices. To provide products online that ordinariy DIYers could install themselves, professionally made for them to provide a really great end result.

MDF was the natural place to start, it is the defacto material for DIY and let's be fair there was also a bit of a craze for the shaker look which we capitalised on. In fact, we were one of the first online companies offering MDF wall panelling made to fit in the UK, if not the world.

Despite the success of MDF panelling and our riding on that wave, I've always felt that we should also offer real wood panelling, this is after all the truly "traditional" panelling that we based our company name on. Sure we could make wood panels, as can a lot of skilled cabinet makers and joiners.

The difficult bit though is how to make real wood panels in volume and at a price that a normal DIYer might be prepared to pay. Just one look on Google and you'll see that truly traditional wooden wall panelling is very expensive and needs professional installation. And in a way so it should be, good quality hardwoods, even veneer plywood or MDF is costly. Then there are the tools, machinery, knowledge and time to make and install hardwood panelling which are considerable costs too- pushing the final retail sale price per square metre into territories probably outside of the normal "high street" buyer. But we love a challenge... and I just knew it was possible to do develop something that could work so I set out on doing that.

Sourcing and working with different types of timber I gradually worked out the most cost effective way to bring very high end finishes to the panelling.

We tested dozens of wood species for how adaptable they were to different finishes and how they cut and handled in the workshop. We tested solid timber, plywood and veneered MDF. Water and solvent based dyes and stains, different waxes. Spraying finishes or painting them, hand buffing, machine buffing? Endless testing and adapatation.

I settled on Red Grandis faced plywood. Red Grandis, or Eucalpytus is a sustainable hardwood grown responsibly throughout the Far East and Australia. It has excellent moisture resistance and is a favourite material for joiners making windows due to its cutting properties, durability and longevity. Importantly it's grain and natural texture and unfinished very light pink colouring means it can be stained to look like other much more costly wood species. The picture here shows Red Grandis ply with walnut, oak and mahogany stains, the same wood but it looks completely different. Red Grandis veneered plywood proved to be stronger and ligher than veneered MDF and we worked hard to find the right variation and supply that was ideal for panelling.

With the material identified we worked on the panel construction, taking the modular system we had developed for the successful range of backboarded MDF panels we have been making for over three years now, reworking the measurements and build method. As before we decided nails were the best fixing method in construction, far quicker to apply and cheaper to use than adhesive and also "more traditional"! Also, they just work.

So, we've arrived at our launch. The panels look absolutely stunning up close, tactile and beautiful. They really do look and feel like antique furniture, just like real old wall panelling. I firmly believe that when the craze for MDF panelling dies out there will still be a market for truly beautiful handmade wooden panelling, as there has always been. We think this product is a real gamechanger in terms of the quality for the price and I am really proud of what we can achieve for our customers.

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