Working with wood veneer can be a wonderful way to create beautiful furniture, inlays, instruments, trim, and other decorative accents and elements much more economically than using solid wood.
That is, if you avoid all of these pitfalls. Lean on the experience of others and don’t make the same mistakes!
Assuming Veneer Will Match a Sample
Veneer is made from real wood, which means no two samples are going to be 100% exactly the same, even if they are of the same species.
Samples are taken from previous inventory and should be used for referential purposes only. Don’t assume that the veneer you purchase, even if it’s of the same cut, treatment, and species, will be completely identical to a sample.
That’s how fabricated products are, but not veneer, which is made from real wood. No two trees produce exactly the same color and grain structure, which means all veneer is slightly different, too.
Assuming All Wood Veneer Species Have the Same Color or Grain Orientation
This one’s a big one. Let’s say you want to take on a project with hickory veneer.
All hickory veneer should look basically the same, right?
Not exactly, no. Quarter sawn and flat-cut hickory veneer will look very different from each other, as will random planked, knotty, and pecky veneer.
Also, consider that some woods are steamed, which creates, generally, a warmer color tone.
In short, you need to be very specific when ordering veneer sheets and panels. If you have questions, ask – even if it’s about a single species.
Using Veneer That Doesn’t Work Well, Given the Application
If you’re working on a large project that requires a consistent, coherent look, and agreement between grain orientation and patterns, it makes sense to use veneer from a species that produces large logs.
For smaller projects, this isn’t as much of a big deal.
Follow the maxim, “large species for large jobs and small species for small jobs.”
Spending More and Getting Less
If a project doesn’t require an ultra-premium veneer, don’t shell out the extra money. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it.
Part of the reason to use veneer in the first place is for its economy when compared to solid wood.
And, on top of that, veneer can be stained and finished to change its appearance. Save the premium stuff for high-visibility areas, not the backs of cabinets and shelves.
Not Getting Enough in the First Place
Once you start a project, you want more than you need to finish it in order to account for mistakes and cut-offs.
It’s impossible to go back and get more veneer that perfectly matches what you already have in terms of tone and grain structure – so buy a little more than you think you need up front. When calculating the number of sheets or square feet, add 10%.
Want to Learn More About Veneers, or Get Help with Your Project?
Visit Oakwood Veneer via the previous link or give them a call at 800-426-6018.
Oakwood sells a wide range of premium veneers, both domestic and exotic, and their specialists are exceptionally knowledgeable about working with this medium.
Reach out to them today and get answers to your questions before you start your next project!