Veneer is simply very thin wood sheets. It is sliced off a log in sequential order. This provides sheets that are almost identical, a concept that gives veneering special aesthetic advantages over solid wood.
Veneer panels can be arranged in mirror image pairs to create beautiful symmetrical patterns, which we are all drawn to. This veneer pattern is called a book match.
By using four veneer pieces in sequence and tilting them in different ways, more dramatic and beautiful patterns are created called box match, reverse box match, diamond box match, and reverse diamond box match.
The three significant advantages that veneer has over solid wood pieces:
The most beautiful logs are utilized to create veneer.
Most veneer is cut from slow growing hardwood trees (maple, cherry, mahogany) and is glued to a substrate made from fast growing softwood trees and recycled waste wood and by products . Veneer is ecologically wise as the ratio of square footage yield from the tree in veneer sheets as compared to planks out of the same tree is 100-1!
Veneered cabinets and furniture are dimensionally stable compared to lumber construction; they do not shrink and crack due to seasonal variations in humidity. All wood changes sizes even with thick finish applied to the surface. But as the ancient Egyptians discovered if you glue several layers of thin wood together with the grains running in opposite directions (plywood) and apply a beautiful layer on top, wood movement is greatly reduced. Today we do the same thing with particle board (the best Canadian) and formaldehyde free medium density fiberboard (MDF) mostly made from west coast waste wood. This dimensional stability opens up aesthetic possibilities for curves, intricate patterns and color combinations not possible otherwise.
In some peoples minds, veneered cabinetry and furniture describe low quality goods. But we feel just the opposite! In any museum showing examples of the best furniture from the last three hundred years, most or all of the pieces will have some areas of veneer. This is because of the beauty and stability.
Older veneer pieces have a bad reputation because of chipped veneer on the edges and veneer bubbles in the middle. We eliminate these problems by always using the best glues and finishes and the best equipment available and never running veneer to the edge of a surface, we always put strips of solid wood on the edges to receive the inevitable bumps and dings life brings. We never use heat applied veneer edge tape as most shops do. We create excellent veneered cabinets and furniture that are worthy of the investment and will last a life time maintaining its beauty and practicality better then solid wood.