Over the years, Shaker kitchen cabinets have been experiencing highs and low popularity. Shaker cabinets are plain, practical and well-made, like all Shaker design and craftsmanship. Shaker's "look" two most prominent characteristics are the use of dovetail corners and door style, commonly referred to as "frame and panel." The front of the shaker cabinet door consists of a frame overlaid on a simple wooden panel. While originally Shaker kitchen cabinets were made of cherry, today this design is available in most woods and homeowners can choose either an indigenous wood or a wood that blends well with the rest of the house's decor. Usually, if drawer pulls and handles are added, they will be matching wood knobs or very basic hardware.
Shaker furniture has historically been used without decoration or "adornment." Plain, clean lines in architecture and furniture as well as other crafts were appreciated by the Shakers. This approach was consistent with their values and beliefs. The Shakers wanted furniture built into the house. It was safe and there was no waste of space. Their furniture was very practical and the contents were covered by many drawers, shelves and doors. The Shakers were an 18th century utopian Christian sect, mainly concentrated in New England and the U.S. northeastern quarter of settlements. Shakers lived in "families" groups consisting of 30 to 100 individuals. They constructed their dwellings in a linear alignment of about 3⁄4 of a mile apart, unlike other cultures.
Each element of community life was governed by the "Millennial Laws." This included lifestyle, marriage, jobs, crafts, architecture, planning for the future, and more. Their buildings were distinguished by design, clean lines, and great simplicity, as well as their furniture. Using dovetailed wood joints can be seen as the prerequisite to build sturdy furniture. Such joints, still in the kitchen cabinets of Shaker, did not need any nails or adhesive. The dovetail joints, in fact, allowed the wood to expand and contract as one piece. The result was a joint that was undamaged with time and humidity by swelling and shrinking the wood.
More than their plain and practical style, the Shakers were renowned. The ladder-back chair was also invented, which became so popular that it was necessary to obtain a patent. Their utilitarian interests have contributed to the circular saw's invention. Shaker cabinets in New England, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New York are particularly popular. In many country kitchens and rustic cottage style homes, they are frequently used. Over the years, their simple beauty has made them popular. While the Shakers have been commonly known to paint their cabinetry in Venetian red, blue and ocher only, today several companies are manufacturing Shaker cabinets in a wide variety of colors.
Hard maple lumber is the main wood used by John Boos & Co to manufacture butcher block furniture. Hard maple also is recognized as sugar maple, because it can be tapped to harvest its sap which is used to make maple syrup. Maple is hard and heavy with outstanding strength and resists wear, making it the perfect material for butcher blocks and cutting boards. A further advantage of maple is the fact that is does not impart any flavor to food. In the workshop environment, hard maple bends easily when steam heated, and it machines well. Its dense, straight grain underpins the aesthetics of hard maple work table tops, counter tops, and cutting boards. Indeed, it is a beautiful wood for any kitchen.
For butcher and chopping blocks, John Boos uses end-grain construction, with vertical segments bonded together up to 16" deep, which can be identified easily by their checkerboard appearances. This is the grain of the lumber as seen when sawn across the annual growth rings. The end grain creates a work surface that is very sturdy and ideal for everyday kitchen food preparation tasks. The surface is favored by chefs as it absorbs the contact of a knife or cleaver as the vertical alignment of the grain helps the blade to slightly penetrate but close up again after the blade is removed. This too prevents that blade from dulling as rapidly as it would dull on other surfaces. Whenever an end-grain surface is needed directly for cutting, it has an oiled finish, which should be re-oiled about every four weeks. Oiling the block surface restores the suppleness of the grain at the surface and prevents the wood from drying. John Boos too uses end-grain hard maple construction to fabricate kitchen island tops from 2.25" to 7" thick. This makes an exceptional work surface for all food prepping tasks.
For cutting boards, John Boos uses edge-grain construction. Edge grain is quarter sawn, i.e. wood that is first quartered all along its length into wedges, which are then tipped on their points and sawn the length of the axis into boards. This results in boards with growth rings mostly at right angles to the surface and straight, striped grain lines. For the chef, he gets a cutting surface that resists knife-edge dulling. As an edge-grain cutting board also is restricted in size by the fabrication process, it provides a heavy-duty yet convenient cutting surface (edge-grain chopping blocks are heavy). The surface of an edge-grain cutting board also requires routine oiling to restore the fibers and avert drying. Edge-grain hard maple also is used by John Boos to construct kitchen counter tops and island tops. They are available in a sizable number of lengths, depths, and thicknesses that make it possible to meet the design needs for practically any household kitchen. The rails for the counter tops are cut, chosen, and matched for appearance, thus ensuring the uniformly rich and clean appearance that is most wanted by many discriminating customers. These rails are bonded edge to edge with FDA approved adhesives and then subjected to applied heat under massive pressure to build the counter top.
The full length rails that comprise the counter 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 autonomous evaluation and inspection agencies, the Forest Stewardship Council oversees that values are maintained all through the entire source and production chain to the end-customer.