Summer Restaurant Week Featuring John Boos Commercial Grade Products

Summer Restaurant Week Featuring John Boos Commercial Grade Products

We’re celebrating Summer Restaurant Week here at Butcher Block Co. with John Boos commercial grade products. Whether you have  a bakery, deli, cafe, or large restaurant, you can trust in John Boos NSF-approved equipment. We offer a variety of John Boos commercial grade products designed to stand up to the wear and tear of restaurant kitchens, all while helping you work efficiently, run smoothly, and look good doing it!

If you are looking to upgrade your restaurant or other food service kitchen, check out our John Boos commercial grade products for the highest in quality.

For “back of house” products, we offer prep tables available in wood, stainless steel, or poly tops; stainless steel sinks with up to four basins, with and without drain boards; stainless steel cabinets with optional doors and/or drawers, in both maple and stainless tops; custom and standard size commercial grade butcher block countertops in hard rock maple; and a variety of NSF-approved cutting boards and chopping blocks. John Boos commercial grade products are top of the line — that’s why you see them in restaurant kitchens across the country, and on nearly every cooking show on TV.

John Boos commercial grade

If you’re looking to jazz up the “front of house,” Boos has you covered with restaurant quality dining table tops and bases. Available in maple, red oak, cherry, or walnut, there are a variety of standard sizes from which to choose. If you need something outside the standard parameters, contact us to get a quote for custom sizes and shapes. Traditional black metal bases are sold separately and come in both dining and bar height, and in disc, cross, or T style. If you really want to make a statement, consider a custom bar top. A gorgeous butcher block top spanning the length of your bar makes a huge visual impact and is sure to impress your patrons. Butcher block is both durable and beautiful, and will bring warmth and class to your dining room.

John Boos commercial grade

If you are a restaurateur, be sure to consider our business financing for commercial food service equipment. It is as simple as a click of a button with this 30 second online application. Now it can be easy to purchase your John Boos commercial products.

commercial financing

 

Butcher Block Co. Loves Hard Maple, Also Used To Make Bowling Lanes and Pins!

Butcher Block Co. Loves Hard Maple, Also Used To Make Bowling Lanes and Pins!

National Bowling Day is celebrated this week, with most activities held on the second Saturday of August, which is August 12th this year.

If you’re in the know, you likely know that we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Egyptians alive circa 3200 BC for inventing the pastime. They employed “balls” made of the husks of grains bound together with strands of various ancient plants, and later balls made of porcelain.

Fast forward to the 1880s. That’s when Brunswick Corporation began making bowling balls, pins, and wooden lanes and selling them to local tavern owners seeking ways to entice patrons to spend more time onsite. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Golden Age of Ten-Pin Bowling hit full stride and professional bowlers earned incomes rivaling those of other sports professionals.

Bowling Lanes Are Made of Soft Pine and Hard Maple

Why, you might wonder, does any of this interest Butcher Block Co. and its loyal followers? Here’s why. Not only are bowling lanes constructed of hard rock maple – one of our favorite North American hardwoods and the most popular of them all – so too are bowling pins.

Think about it: bowling lanes are subjected to repeated physical abuse, day in and day out. Consider the fact that the typical bowling ball – made of polyurethane and an outer layer of resin that reduces bounce and allows the ball to roll smoothly – weighs as much as 16 pounds and is hurtled through the air and onto the lane from heights as high as five feet. It’s only natural to wonder, what type of material can possibly endure such abuse?

While some bowling alleys are made of synthetic materials, authentic lanes are comprised of wood – typically pine and maple. Pine, a softwood, is used for much of the lane – the section between the ball landing zone and the pin deck. The approach, landing zone and pin deck are made of maple, however. Maple is used at the front and back of the bowling lanes simply because it’s so durable (hard and dense). Maple is better able to withstand the force of heavy balls dropped on it, as well as the stress on the far end from heavy wooden pins being flung against it.

Bowling Pins Are Made of Hard Maple, Too!

See bowling pins as well, are crafted out of rugged maple blocks that are turned on lathes to be transformed into the classic, iconic bowling-pin shape before being coated with plastic and finished with a high-gloss lacquer paint.

So What Should You Do to Celebrate National Bowling Day?

Obviously, get out and bowl a game or two, preferably with others, since some among us look askance at solo bowlers, sometimes disparagingly called “sowlers.” Better yet, get the whole gang together and try some “rock and roll” bowling or midnight bowling. There’s no better way to honor the sport and friends at the same time. If you have not bowled lately, you will be amazed at what a modern bowling alley has to offer…large screen TVs everywhere, music videos, sports channels, colorful lights, automated scoring, and more!

Five Important Things To Know Before Installing Butcher Block Countertops

Five Important Things To Know Before Installing Butcher Block Countertops

We sell a lot of butcher block countertops to DIY homeowners, contractors and designers. As “the experts in all thing butcher block,” we are happy to share our knowledge and tips to all of our customers and readers. Probably the MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE we can give you about your butcher block countertop, is how to install it correctly! I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of these 5 things to know BEFORE installing butcher block countertops.

  • ACCLIMATE YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • USE EXPANSION HOLES IN THE BASE SUPPORTING YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • DRILL PILOT HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • DO NOT USE GLUE TO MOUNT YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP
  • NEVER INSTALL BUTCHER BLOCK OVER A SOLID SURFACE (SUB-TOP)

A very important consideration when installing butcher block countertops, that even some contractors forget about, is to be certain to DRILL EXPANSION HOLES IN THE BASE that will support your butcher block. installing butcher block to base

ACCLIMATE YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? It’s important to allow a butcher block to adjust to its new environment prior to installation, to prevent cracking or splitting.
  • At least 72 hours prior to installation, place the countertop in the room where it will be installed.
  • Do not place it directly on a floor or table to acclimate as this could cause warping. Instead, place the block on 2 x 4s set on their ends and spaced 12 to 18 inches apart. This should allow air to flow freely across the butcher block’s top and bottom.

USE EXPANSION HOLES IN THE BASE SUPPORTING YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? Expansion holes will ultimately allow the installed butcher block to “float” or slightly move as it will want to do with changes in temperature or humidity in the surrounding environment.
  • Using a 3/8” bit, drill expansion holes in the sub-top, or base cabinet near the corners where the butcher block will be attached.
  • Tops installed without expansion holes will likely NOT be covered under warranty.

DRILL PILOT HOLES IN THE BOTTOM OF YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? Screwing into butcher block without pilot holes might crack the wood!
  • Place the countertop in position. On its underside, mark the location of each expansion hole and drill pilot holes into the top’s underside using a 5/32” drill bit.
  • Make the pilot holes only deep enough to accommodate the full length of the screws you selected.
  • General rule is, the screw should be only long enough to go 1/2 way into the thickness of the block.
  • Place a washer on a screw and drive the screw upward,from the underside of the sub-top, through an expansion hole and into a pilot hole. Make sure the washer is large enough to cover the expansion hole. Do not over-tighten the screw. Repeat the procedure for each expansion/pilot hole.

DO NOT USE GLUE TO MOUNT YOUR BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP

  • WHY? Glue anchors the wood too tightly and might cause it to crack and warp sometime after installing butcher block.
  • Do not glue your butcher block to any supporting structure. Because wood will slightly expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity you must allow it to move.
  • While silicone glue is more pliable, it is still not recommended.
  • Any resulting damage from using glue will likely NOT be covered under warranty, so don’t take any chances.

NEVER INSTALL BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOPS OVER A SOLID SURFACE

  • WHY? Butcher block needs “breathing” room on all surfaces, given it will slightly expand and contract with changes in temperature and moisture.
  • The standard procedure for mounting countertops is to place them over the base kitchen cabinets.
  • If you are remodeling, be sure to remove the prior kitchen countertop completely before you mount a butcher block countertop.
  • If it’s not possible/practical to remove underlayment such as particle board or MDF, cut large holes in it to promote ventilation.

Please reference this blog post before installing butcher block countertops to help prevent damage and keep your warranty in place. Plus, view our detailed installation instructions for John Boos butcher block countertops.

Visit our website to see our standard size butcher block countertops or use our online instant quote tool for pricing custom butcher block countertops from John Boos and Butcher Block Co.

 

 

Summertime Care for Your Butcher Block Starts with Mineral Oil!

Summertime Care for Your Butcher Block Starts with Mineral Oil!

Whether you have a traditional end-grain butcher block, a butcher block countertop, or a cutting board version, it is critical this summer that you apply mineral oil to your butcher block.

Moisturize – Butcher Block with an oil finish needs to be re-oiled with mineral oil to keep it from drying and cracking.

Summertime is here!  Temperature and humidity changes could cause your butcher block to dry and crack. Exposure to extremes in humidity can swell and shrink a butcher block enough to cause checks in its surface. And high temperatures certainly can dry out the wood and cause cracks. What is the remedy? Oil your butcher block with food-grade mineral oil!

You can extend the beauty and life of any butcher block with a natural oil finish by reapplying butcher block mineral oil NOW and every 4 weeks.

If you use your block every day, moisturize more often. This will help prevent it from drying out and cracking.

Apply a generous amount of mineral oil to the butcher block surface then spread it evenly using a plastic grocery bag. (This is preferred to using a cloth, which will absorb too much oil). Smooth it over the entire top and sides of the block. Allow it to stand overnight. In the morning, remove any excess oil with a paper towel.

Protect – Reapply a board cream to lock in moisture and provide a protective barrier.

An especially effective maintenance regimen involves the use of both block oil and board cream. We recommend you first apply a coat of John Boos Mystery Oil (their proprietary mineral oil based product) following the instructions above. The mineral oil will penetrate deep into the block moisturizing the wood. Then apply John Boos Beeswax Board Cream to lock in the moisture and leave a silky, wax barrier on the surface of the wood. Mineral Oil and Cream


Avoid Sun and Water – Store your butcher block and cutting boards out of direct sunlight and keep them away from standing water.

Direct sunlight on wood is a no-no. When possible, move your wood blocks, cutting boards, and even wooden utensils out of direct sunlight.  And always wipe up spills on butcher block right away. Any standing water on a butcher block, especially one that is not moisturized and sealed, can cause damage.

Given the cost of butcher block can be significant, caring for your butcher block will protect your investment down the road. 

More Butcher Block Care

These helpful tips are applicable any time of year, not just summertime. So, remember to keep your butcher block healthy and protect your investment with a little tender loving mineral oil care.  If you seek more information, reference our Complete Butcher Block Care and Repair Guide.

 

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.

Enter our John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway!

Enter our John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway!

Butcher Block Co. Announces June Standing Butcher Block Giveaway

The Grand Prize Is an Authentic John Boos Butcher Block Worth up to $1000.

Online etailer Butcher Block Co. today announced a sweepstakes event that will run the entire month of June 2017. From time to time the company runs such promotional events to educate consumers about the beauty and utility of butcher blocks and to remind food service professionals of the heritage, prominence and trustworthiness of the John Boos brand.

Standing butcher blocks are a favorite among high-end home designers, amateur gourmets, culinary enthusiasts and professional chefs. The earliest Boos Blocks were made more than a century ago and used primarily by blacksmiths before John Boos discovered that his massive wooden blocks supported by sturdy wood legs could also satisfy the unmet needs of butchers in meat shops throughout the Midwest. From there his eponymous blocks made their way into workplaces of all types and sizes, into the kitchens of diners and restaurants, and eventually into homes.

Today the company’s line of standing blocks is expansive. It includes end-grain blocks made from Hard Rock Maple, American Cherry and Black Walnut, in thicknesses of 4, 6, 10 and 16 inches. To this day end-grain blocks are considered by many to be the only true replicas of the original butcher’s block.

Not only do end-grain blocks reveal wood’s intricate end-grain patterns and deliver the checkerboard look they are famous for, they also provide the toughest surface for cutting, slicing, chopping and pounding. That’s because millions of microscopic wood fibers comprise the cutting surface of an end-grain block. These fibers are both resilient and forgiving. They yield just enough to reliably absorb sharp knife or hatchet blades without causing them to dull prematurely. As a result, knives used on end-grain chopping blocks, cutting boards and countertops tend to stay sharper longer and to last longer.

Standing blocks are also gaining popularity among interior designers; presumably more for their aesthetics and functionality over their resilient cutting surfaces. As Americans increasingly yearn to simplify their lives and to reconnect with nature they are seeking beautiful pieces of wooden furniture that are both highly functional and works of art worth showing off. Toward this end, Boos & Co. makes many of its classic blocks available on colored bases. As many as thirteen color options are offered on some of their creations. Painted or stained legs (and table aprons, as applicable) can help direct attention to the piece’s real focal point – its gorgeous wood top; and can help the piece complement its environs, regardless of whether it’s situated in a kitchen, a breakfast nook or dining room or even in a foyer.

Consumers can enter the John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway by visiting BBC’s Facebook page by June 30, 2017.

Enter Now for your chance to win in our exclusive John Boos Standing Butcher Block Giveaway!

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

Custom Butcher Block Projects from Happy Customers

Custom Butcher Block Projects from Happy Customers

I get to work on most of our custom butcher block projects, so when we get pictures back from happy customers, it really makes my day! Remember the speed bag platform made from a butcher block table top? I’m not sure we’ll ever top the uniqueness of that one, but I’d sure love to see you try! Even in traditional applications, I’m always stunned by the amazing work our customers do, and I love that you all appreciate the beauty, warmth, and function that butcher block can bring into the home.

Recently, we received photos of three beautiful uses for custom butcher block.

Jerry in Georgia upgraded his workspace with these gorgeous desks made from John Boos Walnut custom butcher block with custom commercial grade stainless steel bases. These bases usually come with commercial grade Maple tops, but we had Boos put together this custom design and it looks so sharp! Since he is using these as desks, Jerry elected to go with the Varnique semi-gloss finish, for a smooth, maintenance-free surface.

Custom Butcher Block

 

Over in Arkansas, Tom and his wife built their own table base and used a custom butcher block for the table top. This John Boos Blended Maple top also has the Varnique semi-gloss finish, perfect for easy clean-up on a dining table. Isn’t this fantastic? I love the base and I’m so glad we could get the perfect size top for them.

Custom Butcher Block

Now let’s head way down south to Key West, where James has crowned his island with a stunning Butcher Block Co. Walnut Plank Style custom butcher block top. He asked for a “showstopper,” and boy did he get one! The plank style allows for wider sections of wood, which really show off the beautiful grain pattern and natural color variation of the Walnut. I think everyone should have one of these!

Custom Butcher Block

If you would like to explore the idea of adding custom butcher block to your home, give us a call or shoot over an email. We love working on these projects and seeing your creative ideas!

Celebrate National Limerick Day with Butcher Block Co.

Celebrate National Limerick Day with Butcher Block Co.

National Limerick Day is observed annually on May 12. It celebrates the birthday of English author and poet Edward Lear, who was known for his literary nonsense in poetry and limericks.

Do you recall learning to write a limerick when you were in grade school?

At Butcher Block Co. we get to write a limerick just for the fun of it. Read through our limericks, let us know what you think and share a limerick with us. Make it a great National Limerick Day!

Limerick customer service

If you act like a whirling dervish,
And buying online makes you nervous,
Cover bets in case, you’re at the right place.
Because we’re number one in service.

Limerick cooking

For high-quality goods you are looking,
Specially those that are made just for cooking.
Then please check us out, promise we’ll not tout,
Endless orders we now are booking.

Limerick standard size countertops

You have been wondering if you could,
Replace old tile counters with wood,
Just listen to us, it’s hardly a fuss,
So yes, you absolutely should!

Limerick customer countertops

Want counters that match your décor?
Easy to maintain and to restore?
Made-to-order or stock, we won’t put you in hock,
Wood tops family and friends will adore!

Limerick Countertops

Wood islands are sure great for greeting
Family for chatting or eating,
Maple or cherry, grain patterns vary.
You just have to provide the seating.

Limerick Portable Islands

Our kitchen islands are sortable,
You will find one that is courtable.
Want lots of store space, or one you can race,
Choose one with wheels so it’s portable.

Limerick Carving Boards

Want a cutting board made for carving,
Just want to spend only a farthing?
We sell just the best, so look to the rest.
We’re sorry if we leave you starving.

Limerick Boos Cutting Boards

If a very dear friend needs a lift,
Or at you she is possibly miffed.
You need an idea, so she will see ya,
Try a Boos cutting board as a gift.

Butcher Block Furniture for your Kitchen Design Style

Butcher Block Furniture for your Kitchen Design Style

Perhaps you know exactly what your design style is. I don’t think I have one particular design style that I follow in my home. Maybe it is because I have lived in my house for 20 years and did not have the luxury of buying all my furniture at one time. So, instead, my furnishings reflect my taste when I acquired the pieces and when I was in that particular phase of my life. However, overall, I would say it ties together and it would likely be described as a Mid-Century Modern design.

I do admire many design styles, especially when they are well thought out. Whether I am browsing through furniture showrooms or visiting friends’ homes, I tend to really love a well-designed space. I think coastal design is perfect for summer cottages. I appreciate the charm and comfort of a farmhouse design. I love the simplicity of arts and crafts furniture. And oddly, I find the industrial look to be very intriguing and almost nostalgic. But bottom line, I am most comfortable in my home because it is streamlined and uncluttered, with warm wood tones and natural accents like stone and copper.

Given we all tend to spend much of our free time in the kitchen, gathering with friends and family, it is no wonder that the kitchen has become a natural extension of our living room. And as part of this extension, it has become trendy for kitchen furniture and design touches to complement the furniture and design styles in the rest of our home. 

Whatever your design style, there is butcher block kitchen furniture that can easily complement your home.

Here are ten popular styles and some butcher block furnishings that could complement that particular design space.

Arts & Crafts – simple forms often showing how pieces and materials were put together.

arts and crafts design style

John Boos “C” Country Work Table

Coastal – inspired by the ocean, light and breezy feel, accessorized with nautical themes.

coastal design style

John Boos Walnut Gathering Block III and Grazzi Table Kitchen Island

Contemporary – sleek clean lines, often accented with metal frames and straight legs.

Contemporary design style

John Boos Walnut Trestle Table and Metropolitan Maple & Stainless Steel Table

Country – or farmhouse, has a rustic elegant look, with natural wood and/or white bases.

Country design style

John Boos “C Classic” Maple Table and Saratoga Farm Maple Butcher Block

Eclectic – evokes a sense of imagination, with lots of color, shapes, textures and patterns.

Eclectic design style

Johh Boos Maple Tuscan Isle and Maple Elliptical Butcher Block Tables

French – ornate and decorative in style, with an antique furniture look.

French design style

John Boos Maple Calais and Cherry Le Rustica Butcher Block Tables

Mid-Century Modern – style characterized by simplicity, functionality and natural shapes.

Mid-Century Modern design style

John Boos Cherry Le Classique Butcher Block Table and Holly & Martin’s Parkhills 3-Piece Breakfast Set

Modern – a clean, minimalistic style, often incorporating polished or metal surfaces.

Modern Design Style

Johh Boos Cucina Milano Stainless Steel Table and Metro Station Butcher Block on Stainless Steel Frame

Shabby Chic – antique looking furniture, featuring a painted, distressed look.

Shabby Chic design style

John Boos Maple Jasmine and Maple Gathering Block I Butcher Blocks

Industrial – rustic and mature looking with the use of wood and exposed steel.

Industrial design style

John Boos Cucina Classico Walnut & Stainless Steel and Cucina Mariner Stainless Steel Tables

Why We Love Wood.

Why We Love Wood.

Why is it that so many people love wood?  Whether it be fine wood furniture, wooden vases and bowls, hardwood floors, barn wood beams, reclaimed wood bar tops, butcher block countertops, we seek it out. Perhaps we love wood because it connects us to the natural world and allows us to bring a bit of the outdoors inside. But for me, it is more than that.

First, I love the forest. I grew up in Sherwood Forest, with a huge wooded area right across the street from my house. I spent most of my youth exploring the forest and playing with my siblings and neighbors from sunrise to sunset. We built forts, went on treasure hunts, and played hide and seek in the woods. As I grew older, I found that I was drawn to the forest as less of an adventure and more of a peaceful escape. A place to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the city, to regroup and re-energize. Fortunately, I live in Arizona and can venture to Oak Creek Canyon often to hike and just sit and look at the trees.  I am just amazed at how they grow, how much history stands before me, how they survive with the weather, and how beautiful they are in aggregate. I could stare at them for hours, gently blowing in the breeze. Forests have continued to be a part of my life’s story. My husband actually proposed to me in the middle of the Coconino National Forest 27 years ago. And I just now returned from visiting my favorite place on earth, the Bamboo Forest, at the end of the road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii.

The reason I love wood is likely a natural extension of my love for trees. Wood can overload your senses, from the look, feel and smell of it.

Wood has a feeling of life, because it came from something living. And wood seems to have a story to tell. Certainly, the grain indicates the years of its life and the character of the grain can show a bit about the conditions it was grown under. Wood grain has a “visual texture” to it that I am drawn to.  Some wood species, like hickory and ash, have such pronounced and unique grain patterns. And walnut has these delightful twists in the grain and significant color variation between dark brown heartwood and creamy blond sapwood. There is much character in the feel of wood too, such that I find myself always running my hand along the top of wood, regardless of its finish.  I like to feel the rough texture of weathered barn board, the curves and dents of hand-scraped planks, the silky surface of finely sanded raw wood, and the smooth surface of fine furniture. And wood can have some glorious scents that evoke special memories: cedar wood’s unique and powerful aroma reminds me of my parents’ cedar chest and fresh cut pine always takes me to Christmastime. In Arizona, the smell of burning mesquite wood in the winter months is very common and brings back memories of camping in the woods.

Finally, I love wood because it can be crafted into functional and beautiful homes, pieces of furniture, tools, art, décor, and more. Because wood varies so much, no two pieces of furniture are identical when made of the same wood species. And so much of what we build from wood can last lifetimes.  What a wonderful tribute it is to a tree, that can grow for centuries and then be fashioned into something else that can live on for another century.