Working with Oak

All our oak is air dried or otherwise known as seasoned.

Air Dried simply means that during the drying out process a large percentage of the movement of the timber has taken place so there is less splitting and movement than with green timber especially with oak. Oak will always have some movement its a natural wonder. 

We are frequently asked about splits and cracks in hardwoods and why does it happen? And will it damage the structure? The simple answer is they are totally natural and nothing to worry about. Oak wants to be the same as its environment both in moisture content and temperature.

During summer months and soaring temperatures timber starts to exhibit cracks and splits where it further dries out from its original point of FSP (Fibre saturation point). Cracks and splits are all part of the ageing process you will have probably seen this in the oak beam structure in an old pub at some point. Enjoy it and embrace it as it is part of its charm and warmth we all enjoy. Watch it and marvel at it’s behaviour, cracks and splits will disappear, open up, wander and move.

Keeping it natural your cat with love the feel of our trees and you will have a beautiful piece of natural art to admire in your home or outdoors. Sophisticated Scratch products are built to last for years and with the right care a lifetime.


16th century Oak

Natural Oak

Beautiful Oak

Incredibly Strong Oak

Apple Wood

Apple wood grows in a twisted fashion, which makes its grains uneven and therefore very rich and pleasing to look at.  

It is most often found as ornate handles, cabinet doors, and dishware as it is a dense wood that resists wear.

The price of apple wood is more expensive than other domestic wood varieties making it a less popular choice for full-on construction jobs but more desirable for those looking for quality and class.

Apple trees were common sources of wood for the immigrants who colonized North America. Today, apple wood is typically harvested from trees that have outgrown their usefulness as fruit producers.

Because the majority of today’s apple trees are dwarf varieties (they produce the same amount of fruit on a much smaller, more manageable tree), apple wood is not available in massive quantities.

Sophisticated Scratch has teamed up with local apple orchards giving another life to apple trees that no longer produce fruit.


Heartwood can vary from like reddish or greyish brown to a deeper red/brown

Apple is seldom available in lumber form, and is usually seen only in very small sizes when available. Likely to be rather expensive, and is usually meant for only small projects and specialized applications.

Grain is straight (though on some sections of the tree it can also be wild). With a very fine, uniform texture, closely resembling Cherry.


Natural oils are used on Sophisticated Scratch trees. Tung, Danish, Boiled linseed and beeswax I favour because I find they really bring out the beautiful natural grain patterns.

Linseed Oil its hard to believe that from long stems with delicate blue flowers at their ends derive a golden oil.

Tung Oil Tung oil or China Wood Oil is arguably the best natural finish for wood. In over 100 years of development of synthetic resins and varnishes no one has developed a coating that surpasses the overall performance of natural tung oil.

Danish oil is a wood finishing oil, often made of tung oil or polymerized linseed oil,  It can provide a hard-wearing, water-resistant satin finish

Beeswax Polish is a natural wax used to feed and protect bare wooden surfaces, it seals and protects all types of wood and wooden surfaces giving a long lasting, durable and natural looking shine. Beeswax acts as a protective coating on the surface, enhancing the woods shine and helping keep it looking better for longer.




Cats love scratching on sisal they are naturally drawn to it. Sophisticated Scratch trees have a minimal of 10mm thickness sisal. Sisal is a natural fibre extracted from the leaves of the Agave Sisalana, a succulent plant closely related to the plant which brings us tequila, it grows in dry desert climates such as the plains of Mexico and other parts of the New World.

The sisal fibre is traditionally used for rope and twine, and has many other uses, including paper, cloth, footwear, hats, bags, carpets, and dartboards. 


Agave Sisalana

Native to Mexico

Fibre is extracted by a process known as decortication

The strong sisal fibers are extracted from the plant's long, green leaves, then washed, sun-dried, brushed, graded and bailed on the plantations.