ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WOOD

VENEERS AND. MANUFACTURED BOARDS

VENEERS AND. MANUFACTURED BOARDSПодпись: Decorative matching of veneers can create unusual and breathtaking effects, such as the natural grain figure featured in this Victorian davenport.

The time-honored technique of veneering can transform a simple cabinet door into a flamboyant burst of color and grain, an unassuming piece of furniture into a seamless work of art.

And though wood veneers have shifted in and out of favor over the centuries, woodworkers have used them to mar­velous effect since the ancient Egyptians embellished objects with thin sheets of precious woods. In the 18th and early 19th Centuries, fine veneers became the hallmark of sophisticated, high-style furniture. Large swaths of distinctive wood veneers covered tabletops; mar­quetry pictures—delicate patterns made by aligning pieces of veneer and inset­ting them in the surrounding wood—decorated all manner of cabinetry.

Veneering declined with the advent of production machin­ery in the 19th Century, only to rebound once again in the early 20th Century with advances in manufactured board tech­nology and improved adhesives. As materials continue to improve, veneering makes more sense than ever. Furniture that would be prohibitively expensive to craft from solid exot­ic woods can be veneered with the same woods at a much more reasonable cost.

And, of course, veneering today offers the same esthetic advantages it always has. With veneers, woodworkers are free to create stunning grain patterns with such techniques as book­matching or slip-matching; they can arrange veneers in an
array of appealing configurations—her­ringbone and reverse-diamond among others. They can also take full advantage of such beautiful but unstable wood cuts as crotch and burl, which are impossi­ble to work with in solid form.

The old masters veneered over a sol­id-wood base, or substrate, using hot glue made from animal hides, blood and bones. They smoothed the veneer and pressed out air bubbles with special hammers. While hammer-veneering is still practiced, today’s craftsmen may choose a more modern veneer press; they can also choose from a much wider selection of glues and substrates. The glue maybe an aliphatic - or plastic-resin type; the substrate may be any one of a number of manufac­tured boards, most popularly plywood, particleboard or medi­um-density fiberboard. The introduction of these manufactured boards revolutionized furniture design: Because the boards are dimensionally stable—they neither swell nor shrink with seasonal changes in humidity—traditional frame-and-panel designs can be replaced by large unbroken veneered surfaces.

Of the variety of manufactured boards, cabinetmakers prob­ably make the most use of plywood, itself a product of veneer construction. Plywood is available in many grades for many uses; always buy the best you can afford. Cabinet-grade hard­wood plywood, which is already faced with attractive veneers, is a cost-effective alternative to solid wood—ideal for such projects as wall and floor cabinets, bookcases and drawer fronts.

Manufactured boards offer the solidity of hardwood along with greater dimensional stability. Clockwise from lower left is a sampling of the most popular cabinetmaking types: softwood plywood, medium-den­sity fiberboard, particleboard, hardboard and Baltic birch plywood.

Подпись: Veneer revolutionized furnituremaking as far back as 2000 вс, when the Egyptians handsawed thin sheets of wood and then adhered them to thicker backings with animal glue and heated sandbags. Veneering soon developed into a refined art and became a hallmark of many furniture styles. The rococo Подпись: styles of the Louis XV period in the mid- 1700s fostered a demand for kingwood, tulipwood, purpleheart and rosewood veneers, while the Arts and Crafts move-ment of the late 1800s ignited a craze for marquetry based on mahogany, walnut and satinwood veneers. By the turn of the 20th Century, modern veneer mills Подпись: served both the furniture and construc-tion industries. Almost as fragile as an eggshell and bursting with the warmth and opulence of exotic hardwoods, veneers are avail-able in more than 200 varieties, some cut as thin as Vioo inch. Some of the most popular varieties are listed below.

VENEERS

A GALLERY OF COMMON DECORATIVE VENEERS

VENEER

COLOR AND FIGURE

CUTS AVAILABLE

SUPPLY

TEXTURE AND WORKABILITY

Avodire

Golden yellow to gold; mottled figure

Quarter cut

Plentiful

Medium textured; easy to work. Stains unevenly

Black walnut

Light gray-brown to dark purple - brown; striped figure

Crotch, butt, flat, quarter cut, burl cut

Plentiful

Medium texture; grain difficult to work. Takes finish well

Brazilian

rosewood

Chocolate to violet and black to brick-red; striped figure

Flat cut and quarter cut

Rare

Medium texture and oily; difficult to work. Resists finish

Carpathian elm

Brick red or greenish-brown to light tan; burl figure

Burl

Plentiful

Medium texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Imbuia

Rich chocolate to olive-brown and gold; burl and striped figures

Burl, flat cut and rotary cut

Rare

Medium texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Lacewood

(Silky-oak)

Silvery pink to reddish-brown, fleck figure

Quarter cut, flat

Moderate

Medium texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Mahogany

Light pink to reddish-brown, striped and fiddleback figures

Quarter cut, flat cut, crotch, butt

Plentiful

Coarse texture, difficult to work. Takes finish well

Maple

Creamy white sapwood with tan heartwood; curly and bird's - eye figures

Quarter cut, flat cut, crotch, rotary, burl

Plentiful

Fine texture; difficult to work. Takes finish well

Myrtle

burl

Golden brown to yellowish-green; mottled and burl figures

Burl

Moderate

Fine texture; moderately difficult to work. Takes finish well

Olive ash burl

Creamy white with dark brown streaks; burl figure

Burl, stump

Rare

Coarse texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Pearwood

Rosy cream; straight-grained figure, sometimes curly

Quarter cut, flat cut

Rare

Fine texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Purpleheart

(Amaranth)

Deep purple with light gray sap - wood; striped figure

Quarter cut, flat cut

Plentiful

Coarse texture; hard to work. Takes finish well

Sapele

Reddish brown; mottled and ribbon stripe figures

Quarter cut

Moderate

Medium texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Ceylon

satinwood

Golden yellow; mottled figure

Flat cut, quarter cut

Rare

Fine texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Yew

Warm orange with darker streaks; burl figure

Flat cut

Rare

Fine texture; easy to work. Takes finish well

Zebrawood

Cream background with dark brown lines; Striped figure

Quarter cut

Rare

Medium texture; moderately dif­ficult to work. Takes finish well

WHERE VENEERS ORIGINATE ON A TREE

 

Birds’-eye maple veneer

 

Mahogany crotch veneer

 

Figured veneer

Cut from irregularly grained logs; produced by rotary cutting

 

Crotch veneer

Cut from the junction where a tree trunk forks into branches; features a lush plumed pattern.

Carpathian elm burl veneer

 

East Indian rosewood veneer

AT

 

5triped veneer ■

Cut across the growth rings of trunk, accenting rays in oak and striped and ribbon figures in other hardwoods. Froduced by quarter cutting

 

5url veneer

Cut from the end grain of irregu­lar outgrowths and root sections; commonly found in Carpathian elm, madrone, myrtle, English oak, walnut, ash and some exotic hardwoods. Highly prized

Walnut butt veneer

 

European beech veneer

 

Flat-cut veneer

A tangentially cut veneer yielding an attractive pattern of bold, sweeping curves and ovals

 

Butt veneer

Cut from the stump, or butt, of a tree; highly figured. Froduced by back cutting

 

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ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WOOD

ZIRICOTE

(H) Botanical Name: Cordia dodecandra A stunning, dark wood, ziricote is easy to work and can be broughtto a very smooth finish. Though difficult 5o dry, once this is achieved …

ZEBRAWOOD

(И) Botanical Name: Microberlinia brazzaviWeneie Distinctive in appearance, zebrawood comes from two species of large trees found mainly in Cameroon and Gabon, West Africa. While it is usually seen as …

WILLOW

(H) Botanical Name: Salix nigra While its European cousin is used most notably in cricket bats, black willow is most frequently used in North America by school woodworking shops; it …

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