Apr 21, 2014

How to Care for Your New Butcher Block Countertops

By KC

How to Care for Your New Butcher Block Countertops

So you've chosen a new countertop or work surface.  It's beautiful, all natural, and adds warmth and color to your space.  But now what?  What can you do to keep it looking fresh and clean?

Here are a few tips to help:

PRIOR TO INSTALLATION:
Your butcher block countertop will arrive unfinished with square edges and corners and needs a week to acclimatize to its new surroundings. Do not
put finish or oil on your countertop or cut it until it has had time to adjust to the humidity in your home. Your new countertop needs to rest flat/horizontally with air flow around all sides for at least one week to adjust fully and evenly.

Once installed, wash your block by hand using dish soap and warm water. Allow the butcher block to dry completely after washing. Always wash your  butcher block completely before finishing or reapplying finish.

FINISHING:
Be sure to properly dispose of all oiled rags to prevent household fires.
Always follow the finish manufacturer’s instructions for specific finishes.


There are a number of food safe oils that are approved for use on wood that comes into contact with food. Always read the labels. Any oil that comes in contact with food should be labeled “Food Safe.”

A butcher block countertop with oil finish will require ongoing oiling to protect the piece and will develop a deep rich patina over time. For natural plant oils or mineral oil, spread an even coating of oil over every part of the butcher block. Let the oil soak in for as long as possible, an hour or more, and then wipe off the excess. Allow the butcher block to continue absorbing the oil overnight, then apply a second coat. The number of coats the wood needs depends upon the species of wood and how dry the butcher block is upon installation. As many as three to five coats of oil may be necessary to seal the wood properly.

MAINTENANCE:
Periodically oil the butcher block with your choice of food-grade plant or mineral oil. Letting the butcher block dry out because of a lack of oil is the top cause of problems with butcher block. A good rule of thumb is once a week for the first month and then a minimum of monthly thereafter.

The frequency of oiling will vary by the species, the amount of use, and the harshness of detergents used to clean the butcher block. If the wood appears dry, it is time to oil.

Keep your wood countertop dry and away from direct heat. Do not allow liquid to stand on the block for a long period of time; it can stain the butcher block and cause the wood to expand, which may result in damage to your butcher block.

If light scratches occur, sand the surface gently with 220-grit sandpaper and reapply your food-safe oil.

 
Apr 7, 2014

Top 3 Reasons Mixed Grain Fir is Better than CVG

By KC

Top 3 Reasons Mixed Grain Fir is Better than CVG

Here in the Pacific Northwest, CVG fir trim is everywhere.  It's been the standard for unpainted wood trim for decades, and for good reason: Fir offers a rich, warm look and consistent quality.

However, it  is not always the best choice.  We often recommend Mixed Grain fir trim as an alternative. Here are three good reasons why:

  1. More environmentally friendly -- CVG means Clear Vertical Grain, which is the same as quarter-sawn wood. This cut demans big, tall trees to yield long runs of trim without any knots -- which means that in most cases, when you buy CVG fir, you're buying old growth trees. Mixed grain trim can come from smaller diameter trees and still provide supreme quality.
  2. More interesting to look at -- Mixed grain offers varied patterns and organic flow, with no two pieces alike. It shows more of the character of the wood and offers far more visual interest than the uniform stripes of CVG.
  3. More cost effective -- Mixed Grain fir is less costly than CVG because it is a more efficient way to slice the logs.  Cutting logs into CVG results in a lot of waste that can't be used elsewhere, driving up the cost of the product.  Our Mixed Grain trim, clear and high-grade, is a much better buy than CVG.

We offer and recommend FSC Certified Mixed Grain fir as a stylish and more sustainable alternative to classic CVG fir trim. While Mixed Grain fir meshes effortlessly with modern spaces, it is also ideal for historic remodels and was used in many of the style-setting turn-of-the-century homes in the Pacific Northwest.

Our FSC Certified Mixed Grain fir trim is clear (C&Btr grade), kiln-dried, and locally sourced. We stock it in 4/4 and 5/4 thicknesses, with lengths of 8' through 16'.

It is ideal for window and door trim, thresholds, cabinetry, furniture, and other interior applications. We also provide custom-milled Mixed Grain paneling, flooring, and butcher blocks.

Contact us for current pricing and availability!

Photos at top and below: Mixed Grain fir provides the perfect look for this historic home, photographed by Craftsman Design and Renovation and Pete Eckert.
Photo at bottom: Mixed Grain fir pairs nicely with salvaged walnut for this modern custom art display by Urban Timberworks. 



 
Mar 26, 2014

Green Hammer Sets the Standard for Sustainable Wood Sourcing

By KC

 Green Hammer Sets the Standard for Sustainable Wood Sourcing

Since its creation in 2002, local design-build firm Green Hammer has truly put its money where its mouth is when it comes to using only the most sustainable lumber and wood products available.

Every Green Hammer project is built with lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Green Hammer was the first contractor in the United States to achieve its own chain-of-custody certification from FSC, and founder Stephen Aiguier is an ardent advocate for the advanced forestry techniques embodied by FSC's auditing system.

FSC is, of course, only one way to measure the sustainability of wood products. Other sources including urban salvage and reclaimed timbers can also provide legitimately green lumber, and Green Hammer regularly employs these sources in its projects.

Back in 2005, before FSC wood was readily available at local lumberyards, Stephen was frustrated by the difficulty in sourcing good wood.  He teamed up with local forester Peter Hayes to establish the Build Local Alliance, a pioneering non-profit that helps connect builders and designers to local sawmills and wood sources.

Sustainable Northwest Wood is a member and supporter of the Build Local Alliance, and much of our wood comes from mills that have achieved continued growth and success thanks to the networking connections enabled by Stephen's early leadership and vision.

These days, due in large part to forward-thinking builders like Green Hammer who insist on their use, FSC lumber and other kinds of uber-local, deep-green wood are readily available to Portland builders through Sustainable Northwest Wood, the Build Local Alliance, and a rich network of salvage and reclaimed operations.

Green Hammer continues to make beautiful use of these wood products in each of its projects, setting an example for other builders while supporting local sawmills and forest restoration projects.

We applaud and thank the folks at Green Hammer for their hard work and continued commitment to sustainable wood.

Photo at top: The cedar fascia on this home is FSC 100%, sourced through Sustainable Northwest Wood and the Build Local Alliance.
Photo below: The Doug fir trim shown is this photo is FSC, as are the framing, plywood, and all other structural wood materials that comprise this artful home.

 

 

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