Reuse Project – Butcher Block Table

Reuse Project – Butcher Block Table

America Recycles Day is November 15th. In honor of this day, and in the spirit of doing whatever we can every day to help our earth, we have embarked on a project to reuse some damaged butcher block.

Reuse is the practice of using something again, whether for its original purpose or to fulfill a different function.

We acquired some large commercial butcher block tops that were damaged in shipping. When they were returned to us they were extremely beat up and would have been destined for scrap. But not in this house! I would say we have great vision and can see value in many things other folks discard. This 8′ x 4′ x 2.25” Edge Grain Maple Butcher Block had gouges, cracks and scuff marks, yet we knew it could be given new life.

butcher block countertop

Concept – Butcher Block Bar Height Table

My son, Ben, is now in his senior year at ASU majoring in Industrial Design. One of his projects this summer was to research and design kitchen islands. He came up with a unique design for a bar height kitchen island made with angle iron, rebar and butcher block. He calls this industrial style island the “Truss Table.” We knew we could reuse this damaged butcher block to serve as the top and base of his new table.

Butcher Block Truss Table

Step One – Prep the butcher block.

The first step was to repair the cracked butcher block. Using gorilla glue and bar clamps we successfully pulled the laminated rails back together. Then using the table saw, we cut the large butcher block down to the desired size for the 72″ x 36″ table top and the beams to make the base. Given the damage on the top was significant, we ran the butcher block through a surface sander. Then we finished sanding by hand with an orbital sander using 80 grit to 150 grit paper. All edges were then eased.

Butcher Block cut

Step Two – Build the frame and base.

This was the first time Ben welded and he taught himself while welding the frame together. He cut the angle iron legs to size and all metal was sent to be powder coated in black matte.  While that was being done, he then built the wood foot rest/base of the table. To create the “truss design” with the rebar, a special jig was made to make certain the angles drilled into the base and table top lined up correctly.

Butcher Block Pieces

Step Three – Stain and Finish the wood.

Hard Rock Maple has a very tight grain and is difficult, if not impossible, to stain…or so I thought. However, we discovered a product called a “dye stain” that works extremely well. This product is water based and only required one coat to give this blonde maple top a rich cherry color. The only thing we noticed was that it raised the grain a bit, which we dealt with during finishing. Our new favorite top coat is General Finishes brand Arm-R-Seal Oil and Urethane Top Coat.  We applied a coat and let it dry. Then we used 0000 steel wool over it to help smooth the raised grain. We repeated this 2 more times, with finish and steel wool. The final coat (4th top coat) was then applied (do not steel wool over the last coat). The resulting top was as smooth as glass!

Butcher Block stain

Dye Stain and finish

Step Four – Assemble the table.

Given the table was designed to spec in Solid Works, prior to building, when it came to assembly, it was straightforward and only took one hour to assemble completely!  Ben would agree, that designing and building your own table may not pay much given all the hours it takes, but the satisfaction in creating a one-of-a-kind table is well worth it.  And we reused butcher block that would have been wasted and reused angle iron and rebar from the scrap yard. A job well done!

Maple Butcher Block Kitchen Island

BONUS – Maple Butcher Block Work Bench.

A second butcher block arrived totally broken in half down its length. We were able to reuse the smaller piece and transform it into a workbench 8′ x 2′. A chamfer edge and urethane top coat made this workbench good enough to eat off of!

Butcher Block Workbench

Read our other Creative Reuse/Recycling Blogs:

https://butcherblockco.com/blog/creative-reuse-projects/

https://butcherblockco.com/blog/upcycling-creative-reuse/

https://butcherblockco.com/blog/creative-uses-butcher-block/

https://butcherblockco.com/blog/reduce-reuse-recycle-everyday/

Furniture Industry Growth Is Driven by Shifts to E-Commerce and Environmentally-friendly Products

Furniture Industry Growth Is Driven by Shifts to E-Commerce and Environmentally-friendly Products

Like other mature industries, the U.S. furniture market is experiencing shifts toward E-commerce and environmentally-friendly products. These are two key findings recently revealed in a market research report issued by Conlumino, a retail research agency and consulting firm.

The report notes that the furniture sector is strongly outperforming the economy as a whole, with sales increasing 6 to 7% annually, thanks to a pickup in new home sales and the increasing ease of shopping online and U.S. consumers’ increasing confidence in purchasing online. Demographics are also favorable, in that millennials stuck in parents’ basements will at some point join the homeowner ranks, further fueling demand for home furnishings. Notably, this age cohort is especially interested in environmentally-friendly, sustainable and renewable materials and products – a segment that’s increasingly important.

One company that seems well positioned to capitalize on these trends is John Boos & Co., with headquarters and manufacturing plants in Effingham, IL. Not only is Boos – a maker of wood countertops and butcher block tables, islands and carts – a leader in the home furnishings industry; it relies on online dealers (as well as brick and mortar distributors) to deliver its goods to consumers; and nearly all of the company’s residential products can be described as environmentally-friendly.

Ted Gravenhorst, Jr., Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the company, indicates that, “Boos only uses wood harvested from North American hardwood forests that are managed for sustainability. Suppliers must be members of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA, whose focus is replenishing forests through reforestation). Not only does this enable Boos to satisfy today’s demand for natural, wood counters and butcher block kitchen furniture, it ensures that the U.S. will have an adequate supply of domestic hardwood to satisfy future generations’ needs for recreation plus beautiful, natural home furnishings.” Gravenhorst went on to explain that, “Boos makes sure no wood is wasted. Leftover wood staves are used in end-grain island tops and cutting boards, and pieces that aren’t long enough to be repurposed are ground into sawdust that’s burned to generate steam to power kilns used to dry out fresh lumber.”

Gravenhorst says he is encouraged by the report’s conclusions and optimistic about prospects for Boos’ continued sales growth. “All we have to do is keep designing, making and marketing great-looking wood furniture that’s made to exacting standards and perfectly priced,” he quipped.

The information herein was compiled by Butcher Block Co., a leading online seller of home furnishings and accessories made by such manufacturers as John Boos, Catskill Craftsmen and others.

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

 

Can Planting More Trees Save Us from Climate Change?

Can Planting More Trees Save Us from Climate Change?

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” – John Muir

“But what have trees done for us lately?” you ask. 

For starters, trees provide us wood used in the buildings that shelter us and the furniture on which we work and rest. Forests are home to two-thirds of the planet’s land species. They help capture, store and purify water passed on to cities and towns downstream. By some estimates they even supply nearly half of the ingredients found in medicines we rely on to keep us healthy. But more topical this week, as we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day and contemplate the state of our planet, forests are effectively the lungs of the Earth. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release the oxygen we need to survive.

If you were paying attention in school you learned that carbon dioxide – the major greenhouse gas driving climate change – is in essence, plant food.

Through the process of photosynthesis, trees absorb sunlight (thanks to the presence of a pigment found in all green plants) and suck up water and carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates and oxygen.

photosynthesis_equation

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/57561701462135038/

Photosynthesis is the most effective means for removing carbon from the atmosphere.

The carbon captured is converted into tree roots, trunks, branches and leaves (collectively, “biomass”). The process absorbs nearly 30 percent of mankind’s annual carbon dioxide emissions (released principally through the combustion of fossil fuels), prompting the curious mind to ask, “is it possible to minimize, if not altogether eliminate, the threat of climate change by planting more trees?”

Here’s the short answer: Planting more trees – in and of itself – will not solve global warming. After all, it’s called the carbon cycle for a reason. Carbon sequestered in biomass must someday return back to the atmosphere, either through natural decay or human interference. Newly planted or regenerating forests can continue to absorb carbon for 50 years or more, however, it is hypothesized that even if tree-planting were executed on a massive scale, the incremental trees would capture only 2 to 3% of total annual global greenhouse gas emissions. Link: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/29/planting-trees-climate-change

Make no mistake, deforestation contributes to global warming.

In fact, it’s the second leading cause. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that tropical deforestation (e.g., in the Amazon, the Congo and Indonesia) causes as much as 10% of the world’s heat-trapping emissions to go unabsorbed each year. [source: http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/stop-deforestation/deforestation-global-warming-carbon-emissions.html#.Vxp1i2NZsy5] That’s why it’s important that the trees we do use come only from well-managed forests where sustainable practices are rigorously employed, such as North America’s hardwood forests.

Whereas the Kyoto Protocol encourages tree planting and reforestation, experimental projects to date have identified a number of hurdles, including the high input costs (principally land and labor) and the cost of protecting young trees from natural threats. One other interesting learning is that we must plant the right trees in the right places. Tropical forests benefit the planet by lowering overall temperature, whereas forests far from the equator are more likely to trap heat in their dense canopies, thereby raising temperatures. [source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory].

So while planting more trees cannot reverse global warming, you simply can’t go wrong by greening up your neighborhood and your planet, and by buying lumber and finished goods made of wood harvested from woodlands that are managed in a sustainable fashion so they are sure to absorb the maximum amount of carbon possible.

Record Fires and Budget Constraints Trap U.S. Forest Service in a Catch-22

Record Fires and Budget Constraints Trap U.S. Forest Service in a Catch-22

More than Half of Budget Goes to Fighting Fires, Hindering Restoration that Helps Prevent Fires.

The U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages nearly 200 million acres of public land that produces 20% of the nation’s clean water supply, and stewards sustainability efforts across more than 600 million acres of forestland. Its mission is “to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands” by battling wildfires and administering restoration, watershed and wildlife programs. (source: http://www.fs.fed.us) Restoration efforts are particularly critical since healthy forests are better able to withstand stress brought on by drought, changes in climate and wildfire.

But two recent phenomena possibly linked to global warming – record droughts in the West and wildfire seasons that start earlier and last longer– are causing the agency to exhaust money allocated to fire suppression each year, necessitating the transfer of funds earmarked for restoration that make forests more resilient to wildfire. Whereas spending on fire suppression accounted for 16% of total agency spending in 1995, it represented 52% of the agency’s $6.5 billion budget in fiscal year 2015. The end result is a classic catch-22. Insufficient clearing and restoring of forestland allows for fire fuel to build up, exacerbating the vicious cycle and endangering American lives and property. According to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, “Development close to forests has also increased the threat to property, with more than 46 million homes in the United States, or about 40 percent of our nation’s housing, potentially at risk from wildfire.” (source: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/releases/statement-secretary-tom-vilsack-ongoing-devastating-wildfire-season)

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2015, sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, could remedy the catch. It proposes treating wildfires more like other natural disasters and should restore the agency’s capacity to protect against future wildfires, not just combat them. Specifically, the bill calls for adjustments to spending limits for FY2016 through FY2025 to ensure adequate funding for wildfire suppression operations. Moreover, the legislation would require the President’s annual budget to include the average costs for wildfire suppression over the previous ten years. On January 22, 2015, the bill was assigned to a congressional committee for consideration.

Another way the USDA hopes to restore tens of millions of acres of forests and watershed is through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program authorized in the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. The program encourages collaboration and community involvement and seeks to leverage public and private resources to improve ecological, economic and social outcomes. Just this month USDA issued a progress update showing that the program, now encompassing 23 projects across 15 states, has treated more than 1.45 million acres of forest to reduce wildfire risk and has generated more than 1.25 billion board feet of timber sales. For more information, see the CFLR 5-Year Report: http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/documents/cflrp/CFLRP_5-YearReport.pdf

The information herein was compiled by Butcher Block Co., an online seller of wood countertops; butcher block kitchen islands, carts, tables and workstations; and wooden cutting boards and knife blocks (https://butcherblockco.com). BBC salutes the U.S. Forest Service and USDA for their sustained progress in the face of natural and budgetary challenges.

For more information please visit: https://butcherblockco.com

Contact:

Kathleen Grodsky
[email protected]
website: https://butcherblockco.com
phone: (877) 845-5597

Removing A Dent From Butcher Block Is Easy!

Removing A Dent From Butcher Block Is Easy!

We at Butcher Block Co. take great pleasure in helping our customers, whether it is answering their questions or providing solutions to their problems regarding butcher block. Some questions are about basic daily care for their butcher block or how to remove stains and scratches, and others are more complicated issues like how to repair butcher block. Most recently we had a couple customers call in and ask about removing a dent in their butcher block. One customer dropped a heavy object on their top, and another customer had a dent that occurred during installation. While most dents are minor, they can bug you endlessly when you see them every day! So that was the motivation for our blog this week.

“The Experts In All Things Butcher Block” are happy to share with you how to remove a dent from butcher block, using an iron!

Repairing a Dent for Email and Blog

Removing a dent in wood using an iron is easy, really! This method of removing a dent from wood is well known by woodworkers, but not so much by consumers. It works best with soft woods that are dented – the dent will totally disappear. With hard woods used to make butcher block, like maple, walnut and cherry, the process still works pretty well.

Repairing a Dent for Email and Blog

Removing a dent from butcher block with an iron requires that the bare wood fibers be exposed. Most butcher block has an oil finish, so it is very easy to sand a bit to expose the bare wood fibers. The challenge is if you have a Varnique finish on the butcher block. You must sand through all layers of the Varnique to get to exposed wood. That will allow the water to be absorbed by the wood and the steam to help lift the dent.

Repairing a Dent for Email and Blog

Removing a dent from hardwood butcher block will require repeating the steaming process a few times.

Repairing a Dent for Email and Blog

Removing a dent in butcher block may not work completely, every time, but it can significantly improve the appearance. It is much better than the alternative, which is to see the dent every day and have it bug you.

Do you have questions about caring for or repairing your Butcher Block?  Let us know. We are happy to assist you. If it is not something we have already blogged about, we could cover it in a new blog!

Here is our printer friendly version.

Wood: An Environmentally-Friendly Choice

Wood: An Environmentally-Friendly Choice

While we always have wood on our minds here at Butcher Block Co., this week we are honoring North American Hardwood trees, as we celebrate both Earth Day and Arbor Day. Because our business revolves around wood, it is important for us to be conscious of the environmental impact this industry has, and to be careful that the manufacturers we support are good stewards of the Earth.

Did you know that most U.S. Hardwood forests are found in the eastern half of the United States? U.S. Hardwood inventory has increased each of the past five decades, and annual new hardwood tree growth exceeds harvest by a margin of two to one! hardwood map 300

We at ButcherBlockCo are proud to sell butcher block products from John Boos, a recognized leader for their responsible “green” manufacturing processes.

John Boos only buys wood from suppliers who are members of the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) that focuses on replenishing forests through reforestation. Individual trees are selected for harvest, encouraging forests to renew and regenerate themselves naturally. And none of the wood used in the manufacturing of butcher block products goes to waste. The short leftover pieces of wood are used to make end-grain boards, and pieces not long enough to repurpose are ground into sawdust that they burn to generate steam for their kilns used to dry the wood. The extra sawdust is also recycled as livestock bedding for local farms.

Twitter Manufacturers Environmentally friendly

Not only are butcher blocks sturdy and beautiful, they’re made of wood…a natural material that’s renewable, sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable!

  • Durable – Wood furniture lasts for years and years.
  • Renewable – You can cut them down and replant ones in their place.
  • Sustainable – More are planted than are harvested.
  • Recyclable – You can reuse it or repurpose it pretty easily.
  • Biodegradable – Wood is an organic material that will break down naturally.

John Boos has active recycling programs in place with 95% of all wood scrap and sawdust being recycled.

While it may at first seem counterintuitive to consider wood an environmentally-friendly choice, when grown and harvested responsibly, it actually makes a positive impact. We’ve only got one Earth, and we’re set on doing our part to keep its resources abundant. We hope you feel confident choosing butcher block for your home!