Archives for February 2018

Fast-Rising Demand Is Driving Black Walnut Lumber Prices to Record Highs

Fast-Rising Demand Is Driving Black Walnut Lumber Prices to Record Highs

Black Walnut – North America’s Most Valuable Wood – Nears a Tipping Point

Black Walnut – considered America’s premier timber for furniture making since the country’s founding – is enjoying such a surge in popularity that it now faces a crisis of affordability. Over the past several years, worldwide demand has jumped to levels never seen before. Since the U.S. does not grow enough of the trees to satisfy this rapidly expanding demand, walnut lumber prices are spiraling ever higher.

A recent price survey revealed that high-quality, two-inch-thick Black Walnut lumber was selling for $11 per board foot, making it 70% more expensive than Cherry – another American favorite; and double the price of Maple – America’s most popular hardwood. What drives Black Walnut’s appeal is its remarkable and variable coloration – a blend of cream, light yellow and medium-to-dark browns. The wood’s lighter colors trace to its sapwood – the outermost portion of a tree’s trunk, branches and stems; whereas the darker colors come from the tree’s heartwood (dead wood near its center).

Long considered America’s “go-to” choice for such high-end furniture, over the past several years, overseas manufacturers have discovered huge demand for American Black Walnut in their home markets. Plus, they are now importing walnut lumber from the U.S. and converting it into finished products, such as flooring, for exporting back to the United States.

Black Walnut is also gaining popularity within the interior design community.

Despite walnut’s higher prices, demand for the wood steadily increases. Designers and homemakers have always embraced natural wood countertops, but they really like the dark, rich and varied look of black walnut and they use it to top kitchen counters, islands and tables. Also, interest in live-edge walnut slabs is also on the rise. They can be made into rustic-looking countertops or spectacular tables for dining rooms or conference rooms.

One U.S. company that relies on a steady and abundant supply of walnut lumber every year is Illinois-based John Boos & Co. Boos converts black walnut, plus three other North American hardwoods – hard maple, cherry and red oak – into butcher block tops for kitchen counters and islands, dining and work tables, kitchen carts and cutting boards too. Last fall, Boos raised prices on walnut countertops by 9% – three times the increase they enacted on maple, cherry and oak countertops.

Asked whether he is concerned about the steady advances in walnut lumber prices since then, Ted Gravenhorst, Jr., Boos’ VP of Sales and Marketing, said, “Like any manufacturer, Boos hates to ever raise prices, but sometimes we simply have no choice. We continue to monitor the situation closely. Based on current trends, we can’t rule out the possibility of another walnut price change before the year is out. That’s almost unprecedented, but it gives you an idea of the wood’s rapidly growing popularity.”

Black walnut trees (species: Juglans nigra), which can be found throughout the central and eastern U.S., can grow to be 100 feet tall and three to four feet in diameter. Typically found as scattered lone specimens or in small isolated groups within hardwood stands, they account for only about 5 percent of U.S. hardwood forests in total. It takes almost a century for a black walnut tree to fully mature, making it worth tens of thousands of dollars. When the U.S. was first settled, these trees were so common that they were used as firewood, fence posts and even railroad ties. Today, they’re so valuable that they are sometimes the target of tree thieves!

This industry news update is presented by Butcher Block Co. For more information, please visit https://butcherblockco.com.

Contact Info:
Name: Kathleen Grodsky
Organization: Butcher Block Co.
Address: 10448 N 21st Pl Phoenix, Arizona 85028

 

Butcher Block Co. Happy Customer Photos

Butcher Block Co. Happy Customer Photos

We love getting customer photos showing off the new Butcher Block Co. countertops and furniture in their homes! Our feature photo above highlights Walter’s New York kitchen with a Butcher Block Co. brand maple edge grain countertop inset into his quartz island countertop. The blending of natural materials like wood and stone helps to showcase the individual textural and color differences. In Walter’s kitchen renovation, it resulted in a clean, bright, and modern space. Very trendy and gorgeous!

In the recent research report, Houzz 2018 U.S. Kitchen Trends Study, we discovered some other enlightening trends regarding homeowners renovating their kitchens:

  • Homeowners who are remodeling their kitchens are paying quite a bit of attention to countertops.
  • Countertops are the most common kitchen upgrade (94 percent), followed by sinks (89 percent) and backsplashes (88 percent).
  • And countertops are the top feature (at 42 percent) on which home renovators are willing to spend a little extra.
  • The U-shaped layout of kitchens is no longer the most popular option (32 percent), as the L-shaped layout has made a comeback over the last two years (35 percent).
  • Finally, the study revealed that 75 percent of renovating homeowners are obsessed with clutter-free countertops, preferring a more minimalistic appearance.

Our customers typically order butcher block tops to serve as either kitchen island tops or kitchen countertops. Our John Boos custom tops can be ordered with stove and sink cutouts, scrap hole cutouts, miter cuts and angle cuts.  Other creative uses for our butcher block tops include laundry room counters, office desks, table tops, bar tops, workshops and more. (Check out our blog for other Creative Uses for Butcher Block).

John Boos countertops come in standard and custom sizes, in four species of wood: Maple, Walnut, Cherry and Oak. The most popular grain styles are edge and blended grain, but traditional end grain is available, too.

Butcher Block Co. brand countertops are custom made to your dimensions and offer you 15 different wood species from which to choose! They are also available in end and edge grain, but the most trendy selection is plank-style tops.

Watch our Happy Customer Photo Short Video

Visit our Happy Customer Photos Gallery to learn more about the butcher block you see below.
customer photos