Medullary Rays Are Naturally Occurring in Oak Wood

Medullary Rays Are Naturally Occurring in Oak Wood

WHAT ARE MEDULLARY RAYS
Medullary rays are cellular structures found in the trunks of trees. In a cross section of a tree trunk, they are visible to the naked eye and appear as radiating lines from the center of the log, perpendicular to the growth rings. These medullary or pith rays are essential and serve as a link between pith (center) and cortex (periphery) of the live tree. They perform various functions like food storage and transport of food and water.

WHAT DO MEDULLARY RAYS LOOK LIKE AND WHEN DO THEY APPEAR
In a finished piece of furniture or countertop, medullary rays may appear as rays, silking, and pith flecks. Depending on where the board is cut on a ray, the appearance can be squiggly lines, straight lines, glowing lines, brush marks or flecks. While these rays functionally exist in all trees, they are especially noticeable in lumber from oak trees, like Appalachian Red Oak and White Oak found in some of our BB Co. products.

Medullary Rays in four tops
Medullary ray patterns

When boards are cut from an oak log, they are usually rip cut along the length (axis) of the log. This can be done in three ways: plain-sawing (most common), quarter-sawing (less common), or rift-sawing (rare). Most of the lumber we use is from plain-sawn boards and will result in wood grain in an oak countertop that will have a varietal appearance. The “normal” grain appearance may show up as “cathedral grain pattern” with high peaks in the grain, or a “long straight grain pattern.” However, in plain-sawn oak there will always exist some quarter-sawn lumber, too. (And even some rare rift-sawn grain may be present in plain-sawn boards.)

In quarter-sawn material, where the wood is cut into boards with the growth rings roughly perpendicular to the face of the board, the medullary rays are more abundant and conspicuous, often producing beautiful markings such as silver grain, medullary spots and pith flecks.

OTHER WOOD ITEMS COMMONLY FOUND WITH MEDULLARY RAYS
In some fine wood instruments, like high-end string instruments, the neck and fretboards may be made from quarter-sawn wood to help them remain stable throughout the life of the instrument and to keep the instrument in tune. In acoustic guitars, quarter-sawn wood is also often used for the sides which are steam-bent to produce the curves. Quarter-sawn is used in part for structural stability, but also for the appealing aesthetics of its wood pattern. Additionally, high-end cabinets may be made from quarter-sawn wood which puts the medullary rays on the face grain of the cabinets. It is also especially desirable for furniture and decorative paneling.

CONSUMER PREFERENCES
Medullary rays are going to exist in oak furniture. Unfortunately, we cannot predict how many, what kind, and how conspicuous they will be. Therefore, a consumer must make a thoughtful decision before they order an oak countertop, kitchen island top or table. Given the size of most countertops, medullary rays are very likely to appear in an oak top. For a smaller table, the likelihood of medullary rays probably goes down, but again, it really depends on the cut rails. If a piece of lumber has many medullary rays and is cut into rails for a table top, they are very likely to appear all in one table.

  • LOVE IT – Some people consider this quarter-sawn wood with medullary rays “prized” and they pay more for it! If that is you, then consider a quarter-sawn plank-style top because when sawn this way the result is boards with the annual rings mostly perpendicular to the faces. The likelihood of medullary rays increases and, when present, are going to be more prominent than in a plain-sawn board constructed as an edge grain top. These medullary rays often produce beautiful markings. Compared to an edge grain oak top, quarter-sawn boards often have greater stability of form and size, with less cupping, shrinkage across the width, and shakes and splitting.
  • HATE IT – We have had some customers think medullary rays look like defects in the wood and they find the overall aesthetic unappealing. While these customers are a small minority, we take their opinions seriously. If you might be that person, we recommend you consider a species other than oak. For example, our best selling Maple Country Work Table is the sister to our popular Oak Country Work Table and a good option to consider. And for kitchen island tops we have 13 other wood species available from which to choose!

Just remember, medullary rays are naturally occurring in oak wood, not considered a defect, and the amount and type cannot be predicted, nor guaranteed. It is part of what makes wood so special. Every piece is truly different, and therefore, every countertop or piece of furniture is beautifully unique!

Colorful Kitchens – 2020 Trends

Colorful Kitchens – 2020 Trends

Colorful kitchens is one trend to look forward to in 2020. The addition of color puts more energy in the kitchen and makes for a happy, comfortable space.

colorful kitchens - warm gray

EARTHY TONES INSPIRED BY NATURE

Warmer tones like mushroom gray and smoky white will likely replace colder grays and stark white. Browns are gaining momentum and color is making an impact in kitchens. With a focus on health and wellbeing, people are gravitating to nature’s neutral colors, earthy greens and bold shades, with hues inspired by the earth sea and sky.

colorful kitchens

MORE DARING USE OF COLOR

We have seen deep bold tones like hunter green, emerald green and navy in the kitchen this past year. Blues and greens will continue to influence but will be married with earthy tans and browns. Look for “freshened” bold colors to replace jewel tones. Colors like sharp reds, light teal, turquoise and aqua.

beautiful blue colors

BLUE – THE COLOR OF THE YEAR

Blue will play a significant role in 2020 colorful kitchens. The Pantone Color of the year is Classic Blue; Sherwin Williams’ 2020 color is Rich Navy Blue; and PPG paint is featuring their cobalt blue hue called Chinese Porcelain this year. Beautiful blues in varying shades from light to gray-blue to navy have calming qualities that induce a sense of comfort.

mid century modern wood tones

CABINETS OF LIGHTER WOOD TONES

White Shaker cabinets will continue to be the most popular cabinet in kitchens, but wood tones will remain a strong second. Mid-century modern tones in wood are predicted to emerge this year with lighter tones like teak, hickory, white oak and walnut. Blue cabinets will likely find comfort in colorful kitchens, too, either as tuxedo kitchens with blue lowers and light upper cabinets or on contrasting kitchen islands.

colorful kitchens island

KITCHEN ISLANDS & COUNTERTOPS

The kitchen island is the focal point of many colorful kitchens. Nearly half of kitchen remodelers who upgrade their kitchen island choose a contrasting color for the base, with island colors of gray and blue often chosen. When an island top is selected to contrast with the countertops, wood is the number one choice for the island top. For countertops, quartz will continue to dominate over marble given its advantages of durability and color/texture selection. On the horizon are porcelain slab countertops which are durable and absolutely beautiful in pattern and visual depth!

colorful kitchen tile

FEATURE-WALL BACKSPLASHES

Subway tile is everywhere, but now there is a twist. Tiles in unique dimensions, sizes and shapes are emerging, as is, new ways to lay the tile such as vertical and herringbone patterns. Homeowners looking to fully embrace color in the kitchen are creating feature-wall backsplashes that extend from the countertop all the way to the ceiling!

wood tone flooring

FLOORING & MORE

Wood tones dominate flooring, whether it is engineered hardwood, laminates, luxury vinyl or wood-look tiles. Colored appliances, often following the color of the year, are clever additions to keep the colorful kitchen a fun place to gather.

Will you be embracing the colorful kitchen trend this year?

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!

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!