There are some misconceptions about the roles played by solid woods and veneers in furniture designing and making. All too often I hear clients saying: “I can’t afford solid wood I’ll have to go for cheap veneers” or “I want an heirloom peace, no cheating with veneers please”. It’s unfortunate that the words “cheap” and “cheating” are associated with veneers. Until modern times – say, from 1900 on – veneered objects could be found only in the possession of the wealthy. The materials and talent to produce veneered pieces were beyond the means of the common man.

Usually of exotic wood, often of unique design, and always elegant, veneered pieces were more appreciated by the well-to-do. In modern times the mass production of pre-veneered particle boards have given veneering a bad reputation as the high speed production of these products often yield poor quality veneered boards. Also, a lot is dependent on the skills of craftsmen building furniture from pre veneered boards as poorly applied joinery techniques can lead to short –lived pieces. With the wide range of excellent adhesives on the market as well as various well engineered substrates on which we can apply veneers there’s no reason to believe we cannot produce excellent heirloom furniture with a combination of solid wood AND veneers. Here follows a brief summary of the advantages using veneers and solid woods in certain applications.

Veneers:

  1. Using veneers allow for achieving decorative grain pattern arrangements that would not be possible with solid timber due to either the timber’s seasonal movement or its structural inadequacy. Because veneers are thinly cut it allows for several layers to be sliced from the same board or log so that grain patterns are maintained within each bundle (typically 25 leaves in a bundle). This allows the craftsman to arrange these repetitive patterns in several ways such as book matching and it maintains an even wood texture over a larger surface area.
  2. Veneers make furniture a lot more affordable. Especially when using exotic timbers, a piece made of solid lumber can become very expensive and heavy.
  3. Using veneers can help prevent warping and other problems that may occur to solid wood as humidity levels change.
  4. Using veneers in furniture is far more environmentally friendly than solid wood. In theory one could say that for every standard board of solid wood one could achieve 40 times the surface coverage of that board if it could be sliced into veneers. This is obviously a recommended practice in trying to save rare wood species.

Solid Wood

  1. We truly celebrate solid wood when we shape it in such a way as cannot be done with veneers. This is solid wood’s biggest virtue. Carving, turning, moulding tight profiles, steam bending and bringing out the magnificent effect of end grain patterns.
  2. Certain structural parts of a furniture piece are generally still best done with solid wood such as table legs, most chair components and those parts of a furniture piece that are exposed to more wear and tear such as door frames and the edges surrounding a veneered table top.
  3. Solid wood can generally be re sanded and finished far more easily than a veneer. Today veneers are cut 0.6mm thick and will typically be 0.3mm after having been sanded. Repairing damaged veneers requires more skill than repairing damaged solid wood. The above may give the impression we wish to expound the virtues of veneers over those of solid timbers. Not so. This is merely to try and correct a common myth that veneers are “cheap” and a “cheat” to wood. Applying both solid timers and veneers in a furniture piece in a responsible and aesthetically pleasing way is the ultimate challenge of every furniture designer and craftsman. Using some figurative speech: Veneers are the cream of our timber crop sliced off the best lumber and arranged on our furniture in such as way as to truly celebrate the beauty of this remarkable substance called wood.
custom furniture

Tables & Cupboards

Outstanding handicraft − in the tradition of the Dutch master carpenters − and the finest detail are evident in our custom-designed furniture.

GALLERY
cabinets & storage

Cabinets & Storage

Our cabinets demonstrate our exceptional skill in the art of veneering, turning, marquetry and wood carving, and in working with solid wood.

GALLERY
shop fitting

Shop Fitting

We also design, build and install customised kitchens, cellars and studies/libraries, and shop fit retail and service shops.

GALLERY

Our product range includes residential and commercial furniture design and manufacture, and we also design, build and install customised kitchens, cellars and studies/libraries, and shop fit retail and service shops.