“Oak’s always our go-to when it comes to furniture like tables and cabinetry,” Henry begins. “And with good reason. Oak is a slow-growing hardwood, making it particularly dense. It means that it’s less likely to dent if you knock it – anyone who’s had pine furniture or flooring will know that it quickly gets a bit bashed up.
“Then there’s the way it looks. Oak has quite a distinctive, swirling grain. It offers lots in terms of texture and surface interest, but it’s not super knotty either. Because Moreton’s quite a simple shape, we wanted to create even more interest and personality in the material, so we’ve brushed it. That’s a technique essentially a bit like sanding except that it only removes the soft fibres inside the lines of the grain. It leaves a surface that’s certainly not rough or splintering, but that isn’t perfectly slick and smooth either.”
How about the way we finish the oak? Do we do anything to protect it? “If you’re familiar with our furniture, you’ve probably heard us talking about IsoGuard® before. We’re quite proud of it! Essentially, it’s an oil that we apply to nearly all the unpainted timber in our collection. Unlike some finishes, it bonds with the timber fibres at a molecular level, providing a virtually invisible level of protection against spills, giving you time to mop them up before a stain sets in. It doesn’t make the oak shiny or affect its texture in any way. The only thing it does do is make it slightly darker, so we formulated it with pigments that reverse that effect. Moreton is finished with IsoGuard® in the Natural Oak finish, so the pigments simply return it to its natural, subtle honey colour. There’s Seasoned and Chalked Oak too, which give the timber a silvered or paler look, but the warmth of Natural felt right for Moreton.
“After we designed Moreton in top-to-toe oak, we decided to make a version with painted legs. It lets you add colour, of course, but it also brings the price down a little if you’re not quite ready for the investment of an all-oak table. You’re not compromising though – the tulipwood we use for the painted legs might be less expensive than oak, but it’s still really strong so, again, it won’t damage easily. The other reason we’ve chosen tulipwood is that it has a very fine, very even grain which is perfect for achieving a uniform paint finish. We then choose to use water-based eggshell paint because it’s not very shiny, it’s low in VOCs, and it’s easy to repaint. That last bit’s a big part of ensuring longevity too.”