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

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

Mineral Oil Applicator Makes It Easy to Care For Your Butcher Block

Mineral Oil Applicator Makes It Easy to Care For Your Butcher Block

Our customers love their butcher blocks. Many folks invest a great deal of money in their cutting board, butcher block table, or countertop, so it goes without saying that they will want to protect their investment with proper butcher block care. And proper care means oiling your natural finish butcher block once a month!

Butcher block is a natural, “living” product that responds to the environment around it. It will lose moisture through repeated use, washings and simple evaporation. On top of that, temperature and humidity fluctuations brought about by seasonal weather changes can increase the risk for an untreated butcher block to dry out and possibly crack!  Don’t let that happen. Here is what you need to do:  Watch our short video – How To Care For Your Butcher Block

An especially effective maintenance regimen involves the use of both block oil and board cream using an easy-to-use mineral oil applicator:

  • MOISTURIZE butcher block with a food-grade mineral oil once a month to keep it from drying and cracking. We recommend you first apply a coat of John Boos Mystery Oil . This mineral oil based product will penetrate deep into the block, moisturizing the wood.
  • PROTECT butcher block by applying a beeswax board cream to lock in the moisture and provide a protective barrier. After the mineral oil application, apply John Boos Beeswax Board Cream to lock in the moisture and leave a silky, wax barrier on the surface of the wood.

This one-two punch, using both oil and cream, is an especially effective maintenance regimen.

Now, it is even easier than ever to extend the beauty and life of any butcher block with this no-mess mineral oil applicator. Use it to apply both block oil and cream to your butcher block every 4 weeks. Mineral Oil Applicator

Visit our Butcher Block Co. Help Center for more information on care and repair of butcher block.

Happy Customers – Island Upgrades

Happy Customers – Island Upgrades

We love when our happy customers show off their beautiful butcher blocks! This week we are highlighting two gorgeous island upgrades, one featuring a standard size John Boos Blended Walnut top, and the other using custom Butcher Block Co. American Cherry Plank-style butcher block. Both look beautiful and add warmth and function to the kitchens.

The first of our happy customers is Rachel from Colorado. Rachel’s 97″ X 36″ Blended Walnut island top has a Varnique semi-gloss finish, which is ideal since this is being used as an eating area as well as extended work space. What an impact!

Happy Customers Blended Walnut

Happy customer #2 is Teri from Tennessee. We worked with Teri extensively to find the perfect style and fit for her kitchen island. This plank-style American Cherry block is a unique and beautiful accent to her kitchen. Having chosen the natural oil finish, Teri can use this block for all her chopping and food prep. Teri’s project proves it is worth it to put in a little extra time and effort to get things just right – it looks fantastic!

Happy Customers Cherry Plank

We want to see what you’ve done, too. The more happy customers, the better! Send us your photos and we may feature you on our social media pages. We love to see them, and so do our other customers!

John Boos & Co. Opens a New $16-Million Illinois Wood Plant

John Boos & Co. Opens a New $16-Million Illinois Wood Plant

Butcher Block Maker John Boos & Co. Celebrates Triple Milestones

Boos Commemorates the Making of Boos Block Number 13,000,000 in the Company’s 130th Year, Plus the Opening of a New $16-Million Illinois Wood Plant

At 3pm CDT on Tuesday, August 29th, former and current Boos & Co. staff members and local dignitaries congregated in Effingham, Illinois to mark the making of the thirteen millionth Boos butcher block. Since 1887 Boos has been manufacturing such butcher block products as countertops, kitchen islands, dining and work tables, rolling carts and cutting boards in this Central Illinois community.

Several years ago, when Boos had to decide where to build its new, state-of-the-art wood products manufacturing plant, it wasn’t a difficult decision, according to company President, Joe Emmerich. “We are committed to making our products right here, where we were founded,” he exclaimed.

Boos & Co. has been doing business in Effingham continuously since 1887. That’s the year in which Conrad Boos, the father of John, after whom the company is named, created the first of what would eventually be called butcher blocks. The elder Boos processed a slab of Sycamore wood at the family sawmill and mounted it on three wooden legs, creating a sturdy work table for his blacksmith shop. When a local butcher saw Conrad’s creation, he requested one for his meat shop. Young John Boos accommodated the butcher’s request and started a new American industry. Although the new wood plant is lightyears more technologically advanced than its predecessor, the manufacturing processes Boos employs are largely unchanged from those Conrad and John Boos developed 130 years ago.

The company’s new wood plant encompasses 116,000 square feet – larger than two football fields – and sits on a 27-acre campus that also houses Company headquarters and a modern manufacturing facility where Boos makes work tables, enclosed base cabinets and commercial sinks, all made of stainless steel and mostly destined for commercial food service establishments. Noting Boos’ significance to the town and the region, Effingham’s mayor, Jeff Blemaker, declared in a company release, “The impact John Boos has had on the Effingham area economy is immeasurable.”

This industry news update is provided by Butcher Block Co. – a leading online dealer of John Boos residential and commercial products, including wood and steel countertops; butcher blocks; butcher block tables, islands, carts and cutting boards; and stainless steel tables, enclosed base cabinets and commercial sinks.

For more information, please visit

Contact Info:
Name: Kathleen Grodsky
Organization: Butcher Block Co.

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


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

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!