National Week of Making – Learn How John Boos Makes Their Renowned Butcher Blocks

National Week of Making – Learn How John Boos Makes Their Renowned Butcher Blocks

June 16-22, 2017 marks the National Week of Making, dedicated to “celebrating the innovation, ingenuity and creativity of Makers.”

Trees are sustainably harvested and taken to the lumberyard, where it all begins.

With that in mind, Butcher Block Co. is pleased to share with you how John Boos & Co. makes its famous Boos Blocks.
Step 1 – Harvesting

It all begins with the procurement of high-quality raw material harvested from North American hardwood forests. Boos & Co. sources hardwood only from forests which are certified as followers of sustainable forest management practices. Thanks to vigilant oversight by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA), since the 1940s, U.S. forests have added more new growth each year than the country has consumed.

Lumber is stored then dried in a kiln to the optimum moisture content prior to production.

Step 2 – Drying

Harvested hardwood is stored in an outdoor staging area for several weeks before it is moved into a huge kiln, where it is dried for up to four weeks. The boilers used to heat Boos’ wood-fired kilns are fueled by burning scrap wood and sawdust – byproducts of the butcher-block-making process.

Dried wood planks are passed through a planer and sander prior to being ripped down into rails.

Step 3 – Sanding & Sawing

Wood planks transferred from a kiln to the manufacturing plant are first planed and sanded, then rip-sawed into rails 1-3/4 inches wide. Inspectors use fluorescent markers to identify defects in the wood rails, enabling a scanning & sawing tool to cut rails void of major defects. Lower-quality rails are set aside for use in industrial-grade countertops, in which imperfections are likely to show.

Industrial-grade glue is applied to wood rails to bond them together.

Step 4 – Block Construction

In making an edge-grain butcher block, Boos uses industrial-strength glue to bond together any number of rails cut to the same length. That block is subjected to heat and pressure for a specified period of time in order to ensure thermo-bonding is thorough and complete.

Multiple edge-grain blocks are glued on top of each other to create a classic, end-grain block.

An end-grain butcher block – easily recognizable due to its checkerboard cutting surface – is actually constructed of multiple edge-grain blocks. In making an end-grain block, glue is applied to the surfaces of edge-grain blocks which are then stacked atop one another.

The resulting composite block is then placed in a giant vice called a screw press, which applies pressure over time. Once set and dry, the block is rotated 90 degrees so one of its two “checkerboard” surfaces faces up. This surface shows the cut ends of the wood rails used in its making; that’s why it’s called an “end-grain” block.

A liberal amount of Boos Beeswax Board Cream is brushed onto this end-grain butcher block.

Step 5 – Finishing

Next, the butcher block is machine and hand-sanded to provide a smooth finish. Finally, a coating of food-safe Boos Beeswax Board Cream with beeswax is applied to the entire surface of the block. It’s important to keep a butcher block well-oiled in order to protect it from drying out and cracking and to extend its useful life.

As the premier online dealer for John Boos butcher blocks, Butcher Block Co. is proud to highlight John Boos & Co. during the National Week of Making. Visit our website to browse John Boos standing butcher blocks, countertops, tables, carts, cutting boards and more.

Speak Your Mind

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.