Why Is My Butcher Block Cutting Board Warping?

Why Is My Butcher Block Cutting Board Warping?

Is your cutting board warping? Properly maintaining, caring for, and storing cutting boards made of wood are the keys to prolonging their lives.

Sandra, the newest member of our team of customer care experts, recognized that warping cutting boards is a common concern from our customers.  In this blog, she will share her knowledge of the subject, answer common questions and address warping cutting board concerns you may have…

Cutting boards can be found in a wide variety of materials other than wood, like bamboo, glass, rubber, composite, and plastic. While each material has its pros and cons, we are partial to wood cutting boards because they have been proven, throughout time, to be an excellent choice for durability, functionality, anti-microbial efficacy, and of course, aesthetics. But wood does require a bit more tender loving care given it is natural… sourced from a living, breathing tree. Even after it is cut down, wood will still react to its environment; it will expand and contract to changes in temperature and humidity. Without proper TLC, butcher block can experience drying, cracking, and warping.

DRYING/CRACKING
If you allow your board to get excessively dry it can lead to splitting and cracking. It is of the utmost importance that you clean and oil your board regularly. An average user should moisturize their board monthly with mineral oil to prevent excessive dryness. If your butcher block undergoes frequent/heavy use, you should oil it every two weeks. Also, it is just as important to NOT over oil your board! Excessive oiling will over-saturate the wood, causing a breakdown of the fibers and construction. We recommend John Boos Mystery Oil.

mineral oil
WARPING

Warping of wood is a result of a moisture imbalance between the top and bottom surfaces. There are 3 common causes of warping in butcher block cutting boards:

  1. Inadequate oiling – The most common cause of cutting board warping is from oiling one surface of the cutting board, and neglecting the rest of the board. You must oil all six sides of the board to prevent warping.
  2. Insufficient drying – Another common cause of cutting board warping is insufficient drying after cleansing. After scraping, washing and rinsing, you must towel-dry the cutting board and set it on its edge to air dry. This will allow air flow around the entire board. Never submerge a cutting board in water or put in the dishwasher.
  3. Improper storing – Where and how you store your wood cutting boards can have an impact on warping. While a cutting board made of plastic, glass, or composite can be stored lying flat in a drawer, cabinet or countertop without worry, this is not true for wood cutting boards. The best way to store a wood cutting board is on its edge and never in direct sunlight. When left on a cold, stone countertop, the wood is not allowed to breathe and a moisture imbalance can occur. If you love the beauty of your cutting board and want to show it off in your kitchen, you can safely display it flat on the countertop… with a little added help. You just need to make sure you store it in a way that will still promote air flow to the bottom surface. You can choose to add rubber feet/pads to each of the bottom corners; or for a reversible board, you can place it on top of a mesh rubber mat that will lift it up off the counter to allow air circulation.
cutting board storage

REMEDY FOR WARPING BOARDS
If you have a warped cutting board, it may not be too late to attempt to remedy the warp. The concave side (inward curving surface) is the dry side, and the convex side (hump side) is the side that has more moisture. The key is to moisturize the dry side while leaving the opposite side exposed to air.
Step 1: Generously oil the concave side of the board with mineral oil.
Step 2: Tape plastic on the entire concave side to lock in moisture, using something like dry cleaning bags or plastic food wrap.
Step 3: On a flat surface (preferably not cold granite or concrete), flip the board over so the concave surface faces down. Place a cookie sheet on top of the hump, then place some weight on the cookie sheet (try a bag of sugar or flour, not to exceed 5 lbs).
Step 4: Let it set for about 1 week to allow the board to slowly correct itself.
Step 5: Unwrap, lightly oil the entire board, wipe dry, and store on edge.

cutting board warping explained

Love your butcher block cutting board. For more ways to show you care, visit our Help Center for Butcher Block Care & Repair Tips, FAQs, Guides and more.

Kitchen Design Trends 2020

Kitchen Design Trends 2020

The U.S. housing market exhibits strong momentum heading into 2020. Interest rates, still at historic lows, helped drive new-home construction to a 13-year high in December. Further fueling supply, tens of thousands of baby boomers will exit the housing market altogether when they transition to senior-living communities. And there’s ample pent-up demand among those hoping to finally break into the homeowner ranks.

Against this backdrop, the consensus among industry experts is that 2020 will see U.S. homeowners continue to invest heavily in home improvements, especially remodels of kitchens – the most popular room targeted for renovation.

According to Houzz, spending on kitchen remodels jumped a whopping 27 percent last year alone!
Exactly what will kitchen remodelers spend big on this year? Key kitchen design trends can be grouped into a handful of themes.

SMART TECH KITCHEN CREEP WILL ACCELERATE
Tech-savvy millennials have come to expect it, and older homeowners will come to rely on it in order to more safely and comfortably age in place. We’re talking about “smart” kitchens with connected “smart-home” appliances and devices that can be activated and controlled via a smart speaker, phone or watch. Some connected devices, such as smart lights and smart TVs, can even learn your personal preferences and habits and adapt accordingly. It’s not a pipe dream. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) reports that nearly half of all U.S. homes will include smart home systems by the end of the year.

ONE CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH PANTRY STORAGE OR SPACE FOR GRAZING
Housing-data experts, Meyers Research, recently surveyed more than 25,000 homebuyers about their kitchen needs and preferences. Three out of every ten respondents reported wanting a “super-pantry with ultra-storage,” and half expressed interest in a butler’s pantry for storing serve ware and staging meals.
Half of all respondents indicated they would like a kitchen island, and more than four in ten (43%) expressed interest in both an island and a breakfast bar.
Here are a few other kitchen design trends from this and related research.

  • Stainless-steel remains the preferred appliance finish, but colorful appliances are gaining a foothold.
  • White kitchen cabinets are still homebuyers’ top choice, however walnut remains widely popular.
  • There’s a shift to environmentally friendly natural and organic materials, such as wood, which adds warmth and natural beauty to kitchens.
  • Waterfall ends on kitchen counters and islands are increasingly desirable. (At the end of the countertop, a “waterfall” made of the same material used in the horizontal counter or island top, provides the illusion of a continuous “flow” down to the floor. Soon, Butcher Block Co. will offer waterfall designs in wood counter and island tops.)
  • Trends favor full-wall backsplashes and the use of kitchen art, since the kitchen is no longer just a place for cooking and eating.
  • There’s growing consumer interest in farmhouse sinks and prep sinks, as well as sinks with finishes that are anti-microbial and/or dirt-resistant.

TOMORROW’S KITCHENS WILL LOOK LESS AND LESS LIKE YESTERDAY’S
In 2019, the research arm of the architectural surfacing solutions firm, Cosentino Group, fielded a major market research project. Findings were revealed in a report they titled Global Kitchen: The Kitchen, The Heart of the Home. A key, overarching finding was that the modern kitchen is evolving to host activities that used to take place in other rooms. Essentially, today’s kitchen also serves as a work space, a playroom, and a space for communing with guests. The report observed that, “Practicality and versatility have become the kitchen’s two main assets… New uses have a direct impact on the kitchen’s design, which is open to new materials and colors in order to achieve an increasingly comfortable space, making it possible to safely combine cooking with other activities in a practical way.”

SURFACE SPACE IS THE COIN OF THE REALM
As homeowners use their kitchens for more and more varied activities, there is increased need for more surface space in kitchens. Nowadays used for web-surfing, social networking, and gaming, in addition to old-fashioned food prep, dining, and socializing, any kitchen’s countertops and island tops are its most precious commodity. Consumers want as much surface space as their kitchens can fit.
Designers are responding by incorporating into their designs longer counters, bigger islands, second islands, countertops in pantries, and desks, for example. Plus, they’re recommending material and pattern mixing (i.e., different materials or patterns for tops in different zones of the kitchen) to create a finished space that’s both highly functional and visually pleasing. For example, a designer today might specify edge-grain butcher block for the kitchen’s perimeter counters or desk, and end-grain butcher block – more suitable for chopping – for the kitchen’s main island.

Now that you’re aware of these kitchen design trends, what plans do you have for your 2020 kitchen makeover?

Winter Might Be the Perfect Season to Tackle Kitchen Improvement Projects

Winter Might Be the Perfect Season to Tackle Kitchen Improvement Projects

While it’s true that most homeowners execute kitchen improvement projects during spring and summer, there are a number of good reasons why some choose to schedule maintenance checks, appliance upgrades, and even full kitchen remodels during winter months.

For starters, some folks who worship warm-weather months prefer to reserve them for unfettered activity outdoors and for spending quality time with family and friends, without interruptions from contractors or suppliers concerning home remodel projects underway. Plus, wintertime home improvement projects can wind up costing you less and taking less time to complete, due to the simple law of supply and demand.

During winter, when there’s less demand for contractors and remodelers, homeowners have more leverage so can often negotiate more favorable pricing, closer-in start dates and possibly even shorter overall timelines, since more workers could be dedicated to your kitchen improvement or remodel job.

Also, you might be able to negotiate lower prices from appliance and material suppliers, since they too are not exempt from the supply-demand law and need to keep their inventory turning.

There’s one other often overlooked advantage to tackling home improvement projects over the winter: low humidity. Hotter months bring with them high humidity, which can wreak havoc on paint and floor refinish jobs, which fare better under heated air curing. Similarly, air heated to a nearly constant temperature is preferable for the acclimation of wood counter and island tops to their new environs. But take note: you should not leave new, wood countertops, tables or kitchen carts in cold places, including garages and outdoors, of course.

So Which Kitchen Improvement Projects Will You Tackle this Winter?
Truth be told, winter is as good a season as any for taking on virtually any kitchen maintenance, repair or improvement project. Such projects don’t have to be expensive in order to produce gratifying results. The list below includes projects that range from simple home maintenance to more substantial overhauls.

  1. Check for Air Leaks – Given indoor-outdoor temperature differentials, during winter it’s easier to find openings through which air can pass, adding to your home heating and cooling costs. Re-caulk any problematic seams arounds doors and windows.
  2. Repaint Ceiling and Walls – Giving your kitchen ceiling and walls a fresh coat of paint can be a smart move if it’s been a while since they were painted. Like most contractors, painters are more likely to negotiate pricing during slower winter months. Plus, you might be able to book an individual painter or a crew only one or two weeks out, compared to 3 or more weeks during the summer.
  3. Resurface Countertops – As everyone knows, worn or outdated kitchen counter or island tops can detract from a home’s appearance, as well as its market value. Wood countertops – either butcher block or plank-style – are functional, add warmth, and are virtually timeless. After all, naturally beautiful wood will never go out of style!
  4. Update Kitchen Cabinets – Sometimes all it takes is a good cleaning and application of a wood restorer to renew luster to kitchen cabinets. For tougher jobs, you might need to consider hiring a professional refinisher. If you have painted cabinets, keep in mind that many painters experience a slowdown during winter. Regardless of the finish of your kitchen cabinets, you’ll find that a change of hardware – knobs, handles, and hinges – can make them look almost new.
  5. Refinish Your Kitchen Floor – Humidity can cause floor finishes to cure too fast, leaving an overly glossy or uneven finish. Drier winter air, heated to a narrow range of temperatures, will ensure steadier curing and deliver more satisfactory results.
  6. Miscellaneous — Here are a couple of projects that can make a big impact on the overall appearance of your kitchen, without making too big a dent in your bank account: add crown molding; upgrade lighting.

Our kitchen improvement projects list would not be complete without mentioning two other sure-fire ways to enhance the looks of your kitchen and at the same time increase the value of your home: update kitchen appliances and upgrade kitchen furniture. Of course, we at Butcher Block Co. will always recommend butcher block tables and kitchen carts! They’re functional, affordable, natural, and above all else, beautiful.

Customer Satisfaction is Our #1 Priority!

Customer Satisfaction is Our #1 Priority!

Customer Satisfaction is our number one priority at Butcher Block Co., and we’ve got loads of five star reviews to prove it! We collect reviews from verified customers on their overall satisfaction (not just product satisfaction) in order to provide a full picture of what you can expect when shopping at Butcher Block Co.

Our website is easy to use and our customer satisfaction team is always happy to help if you need more assistance or just prefer to talk with a real person!

Speaking of our team, when you call us at 877-845-5597, know that you will be connected with a friendly, knowledgeable representative who takes customer satisfaction very seriously. We have a small (but mighty!) group who loves butcher block just as much as you do. And if we’re being honest, it’s really gratifying to see a specific, personal reference pop up in a review!


Another delightful example of customer satisfaction is the gallery of beautiful photos sent in by customers who love their butcher blocks! You do such beautiful work in your homes and we are always thrilled to be a part of it!

In just about any business, the best example of customer satisfaction is the repeat customer! We have customers who order from us once or twice a year for wedding/birthday/graduation gifts, as well as contractors and designers who order several times per year for full kitchen remodeling projects. And we appreciate them all!

We put a lot of resources into customer satisfaction, and we sure love to hear from you. Leave us a review with your next order, or send us photos of your project, and maybe we’ll feature you in our next post!

Antimicrobial Efficacy of Oiled John Boos Cutting Boards Is Validated

Antimicrobial Efficacy of Oiled John Boos Cutting Boards Is Validated

Scientific Research Has Substantiated the Antimicrobial Efficacy of John Boos Wood Cutting Boards Protected with Boos Mystery Oil and Boos Block® Board Cream.

John Boos & Co., with headquarters and manufacturing facilities in the Central Illinois town of Effingham, dates back to 1887. That’s when founder Conrad Boos carved his first wooden block from a Sycamore tree for use as a blacksmith’s sturdy work table. Recognizing that meat butchers too had need for rugged chopping tables, Boos’ son John expanded the family’s product line. Today, Boos’ ubiquitous butcher blocks and wooden cutting boards are trusted by professional and celebrity chefs and preferred by aspiring gourmets because of their design, craftsmanship, beauty, and functionality.

But there’s another reason for pros and amateurs alike to flock to Boos cutting boards: their antimicrobial properties. This characteristic of properly oiled Boos Rock Maple cutting boards was assessed by Professor Nenad Miljkovic of the University of Illinois and his team of researchers who are experts in the areas of nanoengineered surfaces and coating technologies.

Miljkovic and his team studied NSF-approved Boos cutting boards made of U.S. Northern Hard Rock Maple. NSF is an independent evaluative and testing organization that assesses the raw materials a manufacturer uses, plus its manufacturing processes and practices. The NSF designation signals that the product that carries it meets recognized food service industry standards designed to promote public health.

The key finding of the university’s research team was that once a Boos NSF-certified maple cutting board used to carve meat was then coated with Boos Block Board Cream and Boos Mystery Oil, the level of bacteria on its surface was reduced to “a ‘clean level’ in just three hours.”

The researchers determined that application of the two moisturizing substances created a hydrophobic, or water-resisting, barrier on the boards that made it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the wood.

Furthermore, they concluded that Boos Mystery Oil helped any meat juice remaining on the surface of the board be absorbed into the fibers of the wood, where naturally occurring enzymes found in Northern Hard Rock Maple killed off any remaining bacteria. 

Professor Miljkovic stated that, “Prior to this project, we believed the function of cutting board oil was simply to prevent drying of the wood, but our research showed that it actually enables microbes to absorb into the wood grain, which contain antimicrobial enzymes that kill bacteria. We found that USA grown Northern Hard Rock Maple, used by John Boos & Co. to create cutting boards, was the most effective species of hardwood that contained these antimicrobial enzymes, which kill bacteria.”

For more information, please visit https://butcherblockco.com, a leading online dealer of John Boos products.

Undermount Sink Cutouts – What You Need to Know

Undermount Sink Cutouts – What You Need to Know

Undermount sinks, including farm and apron styles, are by far the more popular option for kitchen sinks these days. An undermount sink is any sink that mounts to the underside of the countertop, rather than dropping in on top of the counter. Besides looking beautiful, undermount sinks also have the advantage of providing a smoother clean-up process – simply wipe crumbs and scraps right into the sink, without getting anything caught in the rim like you would with a drop-in style sink.

While we love undermount sinks, they do require extra care when installed in a butcher block top… We’re here to help you before you install.

Your sink cutout can be done when your countertop is manufactured, so that it is installation-ready when you receive it. Undermount sink cutouts void the manufacturer’s warranty whether done at the factory or onsite, so it is important that the cutout is done right! Read our previous post, Custom Countertops from Start to Finish, to see the process involved in making your top.

An undermount style sink installed in a butcher block top will leave wood edges exposed to water, which means a higher potential for water damage than if you use a drop-in style sink. Before you install, it is very important that you are mindful of this potential damage, that you prepare the edges in advance, and do your best to avoid exposing those edges to splashes and standing water when in use.

No matter if your cutout is DIY or factory done, you need to take extra precautions when installing your sink to protect the exposed edges of the cutout:

undermount sink
  • If you have a polyurethane or varnish finished top, apply extra layers of finish on the underside of the counter, several inches around the perimeter of the sink cutout. This will help avoid any moisture damage if there are leaks in your sink or faucet. You must apply additional coats of poly to the exposed cutout edge itself to give it more water resistance.

undermount sink
  • For oil-finished tops, use an oil-based poly on the underside. For the exposed edges, you must apply melted beeswax or paraffin wax to repel water. It is important to reapply the wax occasionally to maintain water resistance. Alternatively, you may use an oil-based matte poly finish on these edges, but we recommend you test in an inconspicuous area first to be sure you are happy with the look.

Whether you choose to do it yourself or go with a factory cutout, we are here to help! Give us a call if you have any questions or concerns, and our experts will help you decide the best option for your home and lifestyle.

Hickory Butcher Block Grows in Popularity

Hickory Butcher Block Grows in Popularity

Hickory butcher block has become increasingly popular over the last couple years, sliding in just behind maple and walnut to round out our top three best sellers. Known for its unique appearance, hickory wood is also very hard, making it an incredibly durable option for many applications. Its hardness level can also make it a bit difficult to work with, so if you need custom cuts, it is best to consult with us and have them done in our shop. Hickory is not just used as butcher block in the kitchen, though! It can be utilized in the bathroom, home office, laundry room…anywhere!

From countertops to cabinets, desktops to dining tables, hickory butcher block can add a beautiful and dependable surface to any room of your home or office.

The lumber for our hickory butcher block is readily available and sourced from Ohio and the surrounding area. The heartwood is a beautiful brown color that pairs nicely with the more creamy and light sapwood. The plank style hickory boasts large swaths of the beautiful grain pattern, whereas the edge grain style typically has a somewhat striped appearance.

Below on the left is a full kitchen remodel from customers Victoria and Mark, who used the plank style hickory with a varnish finish to revamp their countertops and center island. We were able to accommodate the unique shape of their island as well as the custom bump-out at the kitchen sink. On the right is a kitchen cart with an edge grain hickory top, highlighting the stripey pattern.

Hickory Butcher Block

Our happy customer, William, from California, installed this gorgeous 3” thick edge grain style hickory block to complete his beautiful kitchen. It looks stunning with those green cabinets and rustic brick backsplash.

Hickory Butcher Block

As you can see, hickory butcher block is an incredibly versatile material that adds function and beauty to your space. We hope you are inspired to bring some hickory into your life! Check out our online instant quote calculator to get pricing for your project.

Created Hardwood’s Showroom of Live-Edge Wood Slabs

Created Hardwood’s Showroom of Live-Edge Wood Slabs

I visited Created Hardwood’s Columbus Showroom and was blown away! Ever since Created Hardwood Ltd. – Butcher Block Co.’s supplier of Live-Edge Wood Slabs – opened a showroom in their hometown of Columbus I have been wanting to check it out. Recently I visited Ohio’s capital city and thoroughly enjoyed my tour of CH’s extraordinary exhibit.

Created Hardwood’s live-edge wood slabs are used to make stunning, natural countertops and one-of-a-kind tables for kitchens, dining rooms, lobbies and conference rooms.

I learned that the family-owned firm has discovered a myriad of other clever uses for the slabs they salvage from downed trees.

Upon entering the showroom you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the striking beauty and variety of options before you. The main hall of the exhibit showcases a selection of live or rustic-edge slabs mounted on a number of different metal bases. All told, CH offers 11 different table base styles and its design experts are eager to help customers find just the right base for the slab selected.

created hardwood slabs

Here are a couple of extra-large slabs that would undoubtedly transform a dining room or a conference room.

created hardwood tables

Narrower slabs can be transformed into gorgeous library tables, desks and countertops.

created hardwood sofa table

Smaller recycled slabs can make perfect accent or coffee tables. Notice how much impact the selection of table legs can have. The wood slab in the photo is mounted on “Points” legs, which provide a delicate look suitable for a coffee table. While a similarly sized slab is mounted on heftier “Taper Up” supports, which signal this is a sturdy bench.

created hardwood coffee table

These unusual and stunning floating shelves were further testimony to the creativity of CH’s creative and skilled craftsmen…

created hardwood shelves

…as was this island bar and bar stools set.

created hardwood seated bar

In the rear of the store a neon sign calls (more like “shouts”) one’s attention to CH’s wood slab cutting boards exhibit. Rectangular slabs of various species and sizes hang, much like paintings in a gallery. They’re mounted on an authentic red brick wall, providing keen contrast in color, material and texture.

created hardwood cutting boards

By this point in my tour I was so impressed by the variety of CH’s creative re-use of salvaged, living edge natural wood slabs that I couldn’t imagine what I’d find around the next corner, nor could I wait to see. And sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered a mock bedroom showcasing a wood-slab headboard, and an adjoining bath with a mirror framed at its top and bottom with wood slabs with live edges.

created hardwood headboard

And as they say on infomercials, “Wait, there’s more.” That’s when I discovered that the seat and back of a cushion-covered loveseat in the main exhibit hall were also wood slabs. But to be honest, by then I should not have been the least bit surprised. Here’s one of CH’s more interesting designs. It marries a glass table top with table base consisting of interlocking wood slabs.

created hardwood sofa

If you live in or near Columbus or ever visit, be sure to check out Created Hardwood Ltd.’s unbelievable tribute to wood slab recycling. It’s located downtown, at 16 West Poplar Avenue. If you want to shop online, visit us at butcherblockco.com and see our selection of Created Hardwood live-edge slabs, table bases and cutting boards.
Warm thanks to my tour guide, Created Hardwood’s National Sales Manager, Max Charney.

Customized Butcher Block Made Your Way!

Customized Butcher Block Made Your Way!

Customized butcher block kitchen island tops and countertops is our sweet spot here at Butcher Block Co.! It is what we do every day. While standard size butcher block may work for some folks, we have found that the majority of our customers have very specific requirements to fit their kitchen islands, island bars, or countertops. Often they require unique dimensions, custom angle cuts, miter cuts, sink cutouts or stove cutouts.

For customized butcher block island tops or countertops requiring just specific length and width specifications, including custom edging, chances are you can have some fun with our Instant Quote Tool and get an online quote yourself. Visit our John Boos Instant Quote Tool, email a quote to yourself, or order immediately. It’s fast and easy!

If your customized butcher block island top or countertops require special cuts or cutouts, simply give us a call at (877) 845-5597 and we will be happy to work with you on a custom quote. The process is pretty simple:

  • Specifications – Identify all of your specifications, including wood species, dimensions and a simple sketch, then email them to us.
  • Conversation – We will call you to discuss details.
  • Quote – A firm quote will be provided for your butcher block.
  • Order – We will place a phone order with you. If you have custom cutouts for appliances, we will ask you for make and model numbers.
  • Signature Approval – A simple engineering drawing from the manufacture will be sent to you for approval prior to production.
  • Anticipation – This just requires a little patience on your end, as we make your customized butcher block!

Perhaps you are looking for a unique species of wood, if so, consider our Butcher Block Co. brand of countertops available in 15 different wood species. This would also be your choice if you have requirements for an XL butcher block, an unfinished butcher block, or you were on a tighter time frame, as these tops are made within 3 weeks, plus shipping. Our BBCo. brand custom butcher block is handcrafted by Amish woodworkers who pay special attention to detail and quality workmanship.

Go ahead and play with our BBCo. brand Instant Online Quote Tool. It is a wonderful way to research and plan a kitchen remodel in the privacy of your own home. No pressure. Just generate a quote and email it to yourself.

We would love for you to become one of our happy customers.

Every day we work with DIY homeowners, contractors and designers to help them customize butcher block their way!

We also have worked with small restaurant owners to outfit both their front of house and back of house with customized butcher block. And, we are also available to help home builders and other commercial businesses looking to integrate butcher block into their projects.

Reminder… you always get FREE SHIPPING on your butcher block island tops and countertops from Butcher Block Co. Let us know if we can help you. Give us a call at (877) 845-5597 or email us with your specs at [email protected]. Cheers!

The Magic of Walnut Hardwood

The Magic of Walnut Hardwood

Has Wonderful Walnut Hardwood Cast its Spell over YOU?

First, some background. Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra) is native to eastern North America (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juglans_nigra#/media/File:Juglans_nigra_range_map_1.png) and commercially important. It’s treasured for its rich and distinguished appearance; in particular, its distinctive brown coloration and its tight, straight grain pattern. Plus, despite its heft and durability, walnut wood can be easily worked, so it’s perfect for woodworkers to craft into fine furniture, cabinetry, flooring, ceiling paneling and countertops, for example.

Walnut is the second most popular North American hardwood

In terms of demand, Walnut trails only Maple – America’s favorite hardwood, due to its hardness and neutral colors, which make it complementary to almost any kitchen décor. Interestingly, the gap in demand between maple and walnut has been narrowing for years, despite the steadily-expanding price gap between America’s two most favorite hardwoods.

It’s almost as though Black Walnut hardwood has some mysterious power over humans, causing us to want it more even as we collectively drive its price higher.

Rising overseas demand for U.S. hardwood is also driving the cost of walnut higher.

Asian markets require a sustainable source of temperate hardwood

Temperate hardwood includes such species as ash, cherry, maple, oak and walnut. Thanks to careful stewardship of its forests – the U.S. grows more new hardwood each year than it harvests – the U.S. is able to supply rising worldwide demand. For perspective, it’s estimated that 60% of all hardwood lumber produced in the U.S. is exported, and that half of exports wind up in China.

Between 1992 and 2017, hardwood lumber exports to China ballooned from $8 million to $1.5 billion, according to the American Hardwood Export Council. China is the world’s largest producer of furniture, and 20 percent of the furniture that the Chinese manufacture is exported. Prior to 2008, China exported 80 percent of the furniture it made. The drop over time – from 80% to 20% – reflects China’s rising domestic demand and is yet more evidence of the country’s socioeconomic gains over the past decade.

Black Walnut’s Value

Black Walnut hardwood trees are typically worth $1000 and more. A pristine log, 26 inches in diameter and 16 feet long, can fetch up to $3,000, according to an article on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website. Due to their rising valuations, Walnut trees are increasingly the target of tree thieves. Reports of walnut tree theft by unscrupulous loggers looking to make a quick profit are becoming a regular occurrence across the region where the species is common. Using a litany of excuses and suggesting myriad alleged misunderstandings, more and more frequently tree thieves are cutting down valuable walnut trees growing on private property without the prior permission of landowners. And of course, once a tree has been cut down, there’s no going back. Fortunately, states are recognizing the threat and enacting stiff penalties for such crimes.

What is your Walnut Tree Worth?

If you happen to have walnut trees on your property that you are considering selling, here are a few points to keep in mind.

Black Walnut hardwood is typically classified into two grades of quality – lumber-grade (more common) or veneer-grade (rarer). Veneer-grade wood is wood that can be sawn into thin slices, usually 1/8-inch thick and thinner, that are then glued onto other surfaces to impart a fine quality look and finish. To determine the grade of your tree, measure three things:

  • its diameter at 4-1/2 feet above the ground;
  • the height of its trunk up to its lowest limb; and
  • the number of major defects in the trunk.

In order to qualify as Grade A veneer, your tree will need to be at least 19 inches in diameter (60 inches in circumference). A black walnut tree that is Grade A-veneer at 19 inches diameter might sell for $700–$800. If you’re the patient type, you might consider waiting until the tree grows another 6 inches in diameter, when it might fetch twice as much.

More blogs on Walnut Hardwood:

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

Walnut Butcher Block Tops

Walnut Butcher Block – Bring the Trend Home

Live Edge Table Project Featuring Wood Slabs from Created Hardwood Ltd.