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Fountain Brook Media Cabinet
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Veneering Versus Solid Wood

Veneer on fine furniture? This can sound like a contradiction in terms, but I would like to set the record straight. So often we see cheap, mass produced furniture, made from poor quality materials, with thinly veneered surfaces that chip and peel over time. But there’s more to veneers than that. From the 1600’s to today, much of our legacy of fine furniture has been veneered. The truth is that some of the best quality logs, in a bewildering variety of species, are saved for veneer. The logs are sliced, thicker than production veneers, and sold in flitches, which means the leaves are kept in the order in which they were cut. This provides the furniture designer with the opportunity for matching: Bookmatches, running matches, quartering and sunbursts to name a few. The effects can be stunning and, combined with technologically advanced adhesives that are available these days, they don’t peel.

I recently completed a suite of office furniture, comprised of a desk and two printer tables, in which I used a flitch of curly Cherry, the like of which I have not seen before. The tops and panels of this custom made furniture were veneered in bookmatches and running matches. I could not have achieved the same effect with solid wood and I have no doubt that these surfaces will hold up just as well.

As a custom, Vermont furniture designer, I love working with solid wood, and have also enjoyed learning the skills needed to work correctly with veneers along with the decorative opportunities they provide. If you’re interested in learning more or discussing a project using veneer, please let me know.