20th Feb 2018
Real wood veneer begins with thin layers of rich-coloured wood, glued together with the grain at right angles over a thick core. There is a common misconception that veneered furniture is inferior to, or cheaper than, solid wood; however, veneers are often used in high-end furniture due to their functional efficacy.
Wood is a natural product and complies with forces of nature. Solid wood will always contract and expand based on temperature and humidity. The only two ways to reduce this effect is to ensure that the moisture content is suitable for the UK climate (10%), and that the wood is properly sealed in the finishing process. Using veneer inserts on top of a solid wood frame reduces this effect as the wood has room to expand and contract, and will therefore be less likely to crack or split. The crisscross design of real wood veneer also reduces the chances of splitting or cracking. In conjunction the adhesive (the same waterproof adhesive used in aircraft and marine construction) add to its strength, with an end result stronger than solid wood.
Designs that combine the best attributes of both types of timber, creating furniture that has both solid wood and veneer components, can be incredibly effective something we adopt with our internal cabinet making here at BarrJoinery., Designing cabinetry with the most appropriate timber selection and highest quality choice of materials for each component will create a strong, durable and high quality product for every individual project.
Some of the best, most interesting looking logs are actually cut into veneer. This is largely an economic decision; veneer manufacturers can make more money from a high quality log sliced into veneer than they can from sawing it into boards. And certain cuts, such as burls, are structurally unsound in 'the solid'. These beautiful woods can rarely be utilized and would sometimes go to waste unless they're sliced into veneer.
Economically veneer has other benefits; saw timber is typically sawn into 1" thick boards. The saw cuts a kerf between boards 1/4" thick that winds up as sawdust. Veneer is not cut from the log but sliced with a knife into 1/32" leaves or sheets. This produces 32 veneer surfaces for every one that is gotten from a board and with no wood wasted as sawdust another eight sheets where the sawblade would have gone.
Since veneer is so thin and is glued to a stable substrate it allows designs and arrangements of the wood that would fail in the solid wood form. It allows for much more creative and innovative designs, allowing our designers to really stretch the limits of what we can produce with spectacular results.