Wood Countertops Are Nature's Original Food-Prep Work Surfaces
The very first surfaces used by man for food preparation and meal serving were made of stone, but as humans migrated to walled domiciles and the kitchen replaced the fire pit as the hub of the family's universe, the wood countertop supplanted the one made of rock. While they’re not as durable as stone, wood countertops are certainly more practical, considering their durability, cutability, affordability and natural beauty.
John Boos Wood Counter and Island Tops Come in Maple, Walnut, Cherry and Red Oak
Boos & Co. was founded in the late nineteenth century in Central Illinois. Today – more than 130 years after its start, the company remains the recognized leader in name-brand wood countertops. Their Rock Maple wood countertop is the company’s top seller, followed by walnut, cherry and oak, respectively.
Maple Wood Countertops Are Cherished for their Hardness and Aesthetics
Northern Hard Rock Maple features neutral colors that mostly range from light to medium brown, making it suitable for almost any kitchen décor – light or dark. Among hardwood species, Maple trails only Brazilian Cherry and Hickory with respect to hardness. The accepted method for testing the hardness of woods is the Janka hardness test, which measures how much force, measured in pounds-force or lbf, is required to embed into the wood a steel ball of a specific size and fired at the wood from a specified distance. A thrust of nearly 1500 lbf is required for the steel ball to dent Hard Maple, compared to about 1000 lbf required for the ball to dent Black Walnut or American Cherry. Notably, about 1800 lbf is required for the ball to dent Hickory, and it takes over 2500 lbf to dent Brazilian Cherry.
Make A Walnut Wood Island Top Your Kitchen’s New Focal Point
American Walnut – prized for its dark, rich coloration – is the most expensive hardwood. Its color palette typically includes a blend of milky creams and medium to dark browns. A wood countertop or island top made of gorgeous Walnut tends to draw the eye, especially when juxtaposed against a background of white cabinetry or stainless-steel appliances. That’s why walnut is always in high demand. Further contributing to its priciness, there’s not an abundance of walnut trees throughout the U.S. In fact, it’s estimated that walnut trees account for only about 1 percent of the country’s hardwood growing stock.
Or a Wood Countertop Made of Cherry or Oak Might Also Make Your Kitchen a Real Standout
If you seek a slightly darker shade of brown than neutral Maple delivers, plus a hint of red tinge to boot, then Appalachian Red Oak butcher block might be just the ticket. If you seek even more of a reddish hue, consider American Cherry. Note however, that new Cherry butcher block starts out fairly light in appearance, but darkens/reddens over time. Both Red Oak and Cherry are moderately hard woods, earning Janka hardness scores of about 1250 and 1000, respectively.
Boos's Wood Counters Come in Three Different Butcher-Block Styles
Butcher block is constructed by thermo-bonding together narrow rails of wood, through the application of industrial adhesive, heat and mechanical pressure. If you’re set on Boos butcher block counters, you will have three construction styles (or grain styles) to choose among.
Edge-grain butcher block countertops are the most popular style, due to their clean symmetry and minimization of seams. Each wood rail runs the full length of the counter or island. Because no short pieces are used in edge-grain blocks, there are no seams that run perpendicular to the block’s major seams. The end result is a clean appearance and simple, repeating pattern.
Blended-grain butcher block countertops utilize strips of wood of varying lengths (except for the block’s outermost rails, which run the full length of the counter or island). Consequently, blended-grain blocks include seams that run perpendicular to the block’s major seams. This can make for an interesting, patchwork-quilt-like look, since each strip of wood will vary in length, coloration and grain pattern.
End-grain butcher block is the most expensive style of block construction. In end-grain wood countertops or island tops, short pieces of wood standing on their ends, side by side in a grid pattern, are thermo-bonded together. Once the bonding process is complete, both the top and bottom of the block are sanded down to create smooth surfaces that showcase the variety of colors and grain structure captured in the sawed ends of all the component pieces. This delivers a checkerboard-like appearance that can be mesmerizing. Not only are end-grain wood countertops awe-inspiring for their beauty, they provide a compelling functional advantage as well. Because it’s the fiber-rich sawed ends of small wood pieces that comprise the surface of such a block, it can more readily absorb sharp edges found on kitchen knives and hatchets, since resilient wood fibers are better able to bounce back.
Edge-grain and blended-grain butcher blocks can be finished with either a coating of natural, food-safe oil, or a semi-gloss varnish that provides a hard-shell, fine-furniture finish. Boos & Co. offers proprietary formulations of each: Boos Mystery Oil or Varnique. If you plan to cut upon your wood countertop or wood island top, you should choose a Natural Oil finish, since sharp kitchen implements can slice into a varnish finish, nullifying its protective qualities. End-grain blocks are only available in Natural Oil finish.
Butcher Block Co.-Brand Wood Countertops and Island Tops Come in 15 Different Species of Wood
In addition to the four wood species offered by John Boos & Co. – Maple, Walnut, Cherry and Red Oak – BB Co. makes wood countertops in Ash, Beech, Birch, Brazilian Cherry, Hickory, Knotty Alder, Knotty Pine, Mahogany, Poplar, Spanish Cedar and White Oak. Given our wide array of offerings – including woods ranging from soft to hard; showcasing such muted shades as beige, tan or brown or more striking colors such as as stunning reddish brown or gold; and color patterns that range from consistent to highly variegated – no matter your setting or application, you’re sure to find a BB Co. wood countertop that suits your needs.
Whereas John Boos & Co. offers a wide array of standard-size wood countertops, as well as custom countertops, each and every BB Co. wood countertop is made-to-order. Like Boos, BB Co. offers edge-grain and end-grain butcher block styles, plus we offer plank-style wood countertops. The latter style utilizes wood planks that range in width from 3 to 6 inches and highlight wood's pleasing face grain. Our finish options include natural oil, varnish or unfinished.