OCT 22, 2020

Slicing through the facts

While furniture shopping, people are often confused and uncertain about the differences between solid wood and wood veneers. Worse, many erroneously assume that veneered furniture is inferior to or cheaper than solid wood, while the truth is that veneers are often used for high-end furniture pieces and can be more expensive than solid wood.

Let’s peel the surface to uncover facts that separate natural wood veneers from solid wood.

The timeless craft of veneering

Veneering is an ancient art that harks back to ancient Egyptian times when veneers were used on their furniture. In woodworking, veneer refers to thin slices of wood that are glued and pressed onto core panels which can be used for a variety of purposes, such as doors, top and side panels for cabinets, wood flooring, furniture and mor/e.

Veneers are created by ‘peeling’ the trunk of a tree or by slicing large rectangular blocks of wood. The unique appearance of the grain in the wood comes from slicing through the growth rings of a tree, and its appearance varies depending on the angle at which the wood is sliced. This is why natural wood veneers lend themselves to more possibilities in terms of designs, hues and textures.

It’s beautiful

Only the best and most interesting logs make the veneer ‘cut’. In furniture making, cuts, such as burls, are structurally unsound as a solid piece of wood and can rarely be utilized unless they're sliced into veneer. Since veneer is so thin and is glued to a stable substrate, it allows designs and arrangements of the wood that would fail in solid wood. Economically speaking, veneer makers can make more money from a high-quality log that is sliced into veneer than from sawing it into boards.

Wood veneers are sustainable

Wood veneer supports responsible forestry as opposed to normal woodblocks. For instance, in comparison to a 1” thick hardwood board, wood veneer cut at 1/40” will yield 40 times more decorative surface area than the board.

The durability quotient

Solid wood furniture is prone to splitting. When solid wood furniture is exposed to extreme weather, it will expand or contract and may split along the grain of the wood. Veneer furniture, on the other hand, is constructed by gluing thin layers of wood veneers together with the grain, over a thick core. With this crisscross design, the chances of splitting or cracking are reduced. Besides, the glue used in the process is the same strong, high-bonding, waterproof adhesive used in aircraft and marine construction, so the end result is a product that is more robust than natural wood. Since veneer is glued to a stable substrate, it produces surfaces that are not prone to warp, splitting or seasonal movement.

Easy to maintain

When it comes to the upkeep of furniture, wood veneer furniture is one of the easiest to clean. Generally, all it takes is a quick wipe-down with a dry or damp cloth to keep dust and dirt away.

Telling apart solid wood from natural wood veneer

Generally, one can distinguish solid wood from wood veneer without much difficulty.

Its weight: Lift the panel from one end. If it’s solid wood, it will feel heavy and be difficult to move. Veneers on the other hand will feel much lighter.

Feel for the grain: Run your fingers along the piece. If you feel a smooth surface without ridges or raisings, it’s most likely veneer.

Grain discrepancies: Should the surface of the piece have the same grain pattern across all sides, chances are it’s veneer. However, if you don’t see any remarkable patterns or symmetrical sides, it’s possibly solid wood.

With so many décor options flooding the market, making a prudent choice is not always as easy as it may seem. But when it comes to finding the perfect wood veneer for your home or office, all you need to do is visit Aera, the home for timeless natural wood veneers, located on Residency Road. Rest assured, you’ll find the veneers that perfectly complement your personality and tastes.

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