Hard maple lumber is the primary wood used by John Boos & Co to produce butcher block furniture. Hard maple also is known as sugar maple, because it can be tapped to harvest its sap which is used to produce maple syrup. Maple is hard and heavy with excellent strength and resists wear, making it the ideal material for butcher blocks and cutting boards. Another benefit of maple is the fact that is does not impart any taste to food. In the factory environment, hard maple bends easily when steam heated and machines well. Its close, straight grain underpins the aesthetics of hard maple worktable tops, counter tops, and cutting boards. Indeed, it is a beautiful wood for any kitchen.
For butcher blocks and chopping blocks, John Boos uses end-grain construction, with vertical segments bonded together up to 16″ deep, which can be recognized easily by their checkerboard surfaces. This is the grain of the wood as seen when sawn across the annual growth rings. The end grain creates a work surface that is very durable and ideal for everyday kitchen cutting, slicing, and chopping tasks. The surface is preferred by chefs as it absorbs the impact of a knife or cleaver as the vertical alignment of the grain allows the blade to slightly penetrate but close up again after the blade is removed. This also prevents that blade from dulling as quickly as it does on other surfaces. Whenever an end-grain surface is used directly for cutting, it has an oiled finish, which needs to be re-oiled about every four weeks. Oiling the block surface restores the elasticity of the grain at the surface and prevents the wood from drying. Mineral oil, Boos Block Board Cream, and Block Bros Block Oil are well suited for maintaining your end-grain butcher block.
John Boos also uses end-grain hard maple construction to manufacture kitchen island tops from 2.25″ to 7″ thick. This makes an excellent work surface for all food prep tasks.
For cutting boards, John Boos uses edge-grain construction. Edge grain is quarter sawn, i.e. lumber that is first quartered along its length into wedges, which are then tipped on their points and sawn along the axis into boards. This results in boards with growth rings mostly perpendicular to the surface and straight, striped grain lines. For the chef, he gets a cutting surface that mitigates knife blade dulling. While an edge-grain cutting board also is limited in size by the production techinque, it provides a durable yet portable cutting surface (edge-grain chopping blocks are heavy). The surface of an edge-grain cutting board also requires periodic oiling to restore the fibers and prevent drying.
Edge-grain hard maple also is used by John Boos to fabricate kitchen counter tops and island tops. They are available in a large number of lengths, depths, and thicknesses that make it possible to meet the design requirements for almost any household kitchen. The rails for the tops are cut, selected, and matched for appearance, thus assuring the uniformly rich and clean appearance that is desired by many discriminating customers. These rails are bonded edge to edge with FDA approved adhesives and then subjected to applied heat under enormous pressure to construct the counter top. The full length rails that comprise the top provide an unbroken appearance over the length of the product.
This year John Boos & Co was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This means that the maple and other lumber used by John Boos is purchased from certified forests managed to the highest social, environmental, and economic standards. Using independent evaluation and inspection agencies, the Forest Stewardship Council oversees that standards are maintained throughout the entire supply and production chain to the end-customer.