The rapid technological advancements in the manufacturing realm have transformed the art of manufacturing veneers into a science. Considering the fact that since early veneer manufacturing techniques were crude and time consuming the use of new technologies Increased quality, decreased wastage and drastically reduced production timelines and costs.
The brilliance of the idea of gluing veneers sourced from rare exotic trees onto cheaper readily available wood and wood composites have indeed gone a long way in conserving scarce forest resources and made veneers a viable eco-friendly solution.
When were veneers invented and how old is veneer technology?
Historians attribute the discovery of early veneer technology to the Egyptian civilization dating back to 3000 BC and surmised that this was primarily because wood was a precious commodity in Egypt’s primarily desert landscape. The methodology used to manufacture the earliest veneers involved manually cutting the trunk of a tree into very thin slices of veneers which were then glued on to cheaper readily available timber.
Apart from being cost effective the veneering process also enhanced the overall aesthetic appeal by displaying rich inner granular texture of the wood.
What are the different types of veneer finishes?
Natural Veneers The awesome beauty of the subtle natural variations in the intrinsic grain patterns, figures, markings and colours found in different species of trees are retained exactly as they appear.
Dyed Veneers These veneers are mechanically dyed to ensure uniformity in colour across different batches of the same veneer and these veneers are available in a range of amazing colours.
Metallic Veneers These are an exclusive innovative range of premium veneers which are available in an exciting range of shiny metallic finishes manufactured using cutting-edge technology.
Smoke Veneers This awesome range of veneers undergo a fumigation process to even out the differences in the overall colour tones of the wood to ensure they exude a dark rich natural sheen.
What are the different species of woods from which veneers are made and what are their characteristics?
The exotic interesting grain patterns of different veneers primarily depend on the species of trees that it is sourced from. Each species of trees is endowed with its own unique characteristics in terms of wood grains, colours and textures. As demand from the furniture and interior décor industry continue to grow, so does the demand for veneers.
Sycamore Sycamores are mostly straight-grained in nature and sometimes curly or wavy. The Sycamores produce beautiful fiddleback or lacy figures with a fine and even texture that finishes well.
American Walnut American Walnut originates primarily from the mid-Atlantic area of the United States, American Walnut is a classic hardwood species. It is commonly used in restoration and furniture projects.
Maple Maple has a close straight grain, fine luminous texture that is intermixed with natural character marks with hues ranging from an enchanting snow white to a warm yellow in colour.
Wenge Wenge is a straight grained rich dark coffee coloured wood with subtly contrasting blackish streaks. The exotic Wenge species is of a coarse texture with an elegant matte finish.
Red Oak The red oak has a reddish-brown core and this species features an open pored grain pattern that creates an interesting texture and is highly complimented by most oil-based stains.
White Oak White Oaks are North American natives and are also called vintage veneer. This elegant species that possess a dense grain pattern and typically used mostly on furniture and interiors.
Burma Teak Burma Teak is a hardwood species of Burmese origin and is typically golden brown in colour with natural looking horizontal and vertical grains which is used for numerous different purposes.
Mahogany Mahogany trees belong to the hardwood species which are indigenous to the America’s. The timber has a beautiful straight uniform grain that is porous with a reddish-brown tint.
Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Trees are native to Australia and are commonly known as gum trees. The wood turns chocolate brown in colour when exposed to heat, the strong grains have interesting textures and figures.
American Ash American Ash is both resilient and strong and is the largest genre of trees in North- Eastern America, mostly classified based on colour, the White Ash is referred to as Sapwood and the Brown Ash referred to as Heartwood.
Zaricote Zaricote is a reddish-brown hardwood with aesthetic grain patterns that vary from marble to cloudbursts, hills and valleys to spider webbing and it is extensively used in furniture making and interiors.
Chestnut Chestnut trees are deciduous trees similar to the oak and native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere The growth rings are visible, when cut longitudinally display patterns and bands in a dark brownish amber colour.
What are the different types of grain patterns in veneers?
Veneers are classified into different types based on the visible grain patterns they exhibit. Timber logs when thinly sliced in different ways tend to display various intricate grain patterns unique to each species of trees. Each type of veneer is endowed with characteristic’s that highlight the awesome natural beauty of creation.
Bird’s Eye These exclusive figured veneers exhibit a grain pattern that distinctly resemble bird’s round eyes and are mostly produced from Maple logs which are rotary or half round cut.
Burls Burls are bulbous growths found on trees and comprise of swirling grains in clusters of dormant buds, rings, or eyes commonly found in Redwood, Oak, Elm & Walnut.
Crotch Crotches based on their appearance are called Flame, Plume, Feather, or Burning Bush are cut at the juncture of a tree’s branches and upper trunk mostly found in Mahogany & Walnut trees.
Quilted Quilted veneers have a puffed-up 3D look with closely-knit elongated bulges and are most predominately found in the Mahogany, Moabi, Maple Sapele, and Myrtle species.
Curly These veneers have contortions in the grain direction that closely resemble undulating waves called curly grain and are most commonly found in the Maple species of trees.
Fiddleback Maple, Makore, Anigre, or Sycamore logs are quarter cut to produce straight-grained veneers with perpendicular curls that extend from edge to edge called Fiddleback.
Clusters Cluster veneers display rusty knotty characteristics that include splits, checks, nail holes, and random discoloration that tend to reflect the aging process of the wood.
Flowery Flowery veneers closely resemble the petals of a flower and have a distinctly strong central crown grain pattern with a linear burred effect on the external edges.
Pommele The exotic Pommele/Pomeli category of veneers is medium to dark reddish in colour with a blistered and bubbled look that closely resembles raindrops on panes of glass.
Plain Stripe and Ribbon Stripe The Plain and Ribbon Stripe veneers are quite similar in terms of the vertical straight grain pattern they display that runs parallel to the length of the veneer.
Flake Flake veneers are made by slicing the wood perpendicular to the growth rings parallel to the bold medullary rays radiating outwards from the centre of some species of trees.
What are the different veneer cuts?
The unique grain patterns that appear on different veneers largely depend on the angle at which the logs of different species of trees are sliced. At most modern veneer production plants various methodologies are used to slice logs to produce different types of veneers, each with its own unique signature grain pattern. A few of the different common timber veneer cuts are described below.
Rotary Cut Veneers Logs are sliced with a sharp blade and peeled along the circumference, parallel to the growth rings of the tree. This process produces wider veneer leaves with a natural variegated grain pattern.
Quarter Cut Veneers Logs are cut into four quarters or flitches and each flitch is then straight sliced at 90 degrees to the growth rings. This process produces veneers with a uniform vertical line grain pattern.
Half Round Cut Veneers Logs are mounted slightly off centre and cut in to two halves and each half is sliced slightly across the outward growth rings. These veneers display the characteristics of both rotary and crown cut veneers.
Rough Cut Veneers Timber logs are mounted and cut in a manner that the finished veneer sheets visually look textured and lot more natural and rustic in appearance. These veneers have a hand cut look that’s quite unique.
Crown Cut Veneers Logs are cut into half and each half is then sliced at 90 degrees from the centre of the log at a tangent to the growth rings. This process produces veneers with a strong central grain pattern with a linear effect on the edges.
Rift Cut Veneers Logs are cut into four quarters or flitches each flitch is then sliced slightly across the outward radiating growth rings. This process primarily highlights the inherent vertical grain pattern of the wood.
What care is to be taken before and during the application of veneers?
Ensure enough sheets of the same veneer are purchased initially since each batch of the same veneer may differ over the next one in terms of grain pattern and shades.
Ensure that care is taken to safely pack the veneers to protect the edges and front of the veneers from cracks and scratches during transportation to the site.
Apply a Base Coat / Sealer / Insulator Coat to protect the veneer from damages or scratches on-site before the application process.
Do not bend or roll veneers since this may cause the veneers which are quite hard in nature to crack.
Do not expose the veneers to moisture, dampness, and water since this will tend to discolour and warp the veneer sheets making them unusable.
Depending on the polish being used on the veneer apply either a melamine sealer or PU sealer or epoxy before application of polish.
While cutting veneers ensure that the bottom side of the veneer faces upwards to ensure that the sawed edges do not appear overly serrated on the front.
Polish the veneers using a spray gun to ensure an even finish in a clean, dry, ventilated, and dust free environment for an ideal long-lasting look and feel.
What is Melamine Polish and how is it done?
• Transparent Clear Coat • Excellent Colour Retention on Stained Veneers • Scratch and Heat Resistant • Approximate 10 years of life span • Not Waterproof
1. Application Process Surface Preparation Sand veneer surfaces with 180 & 220 grit sandpaper. • Clean sanded surfaces to remove any dirt, dust, marks, and oil stains. • Fill undulations/cracks/nail-holes with wood filler of matching colour or preferred colour. • Apply Wood Stainer to suit colour theme if required.
2. Base Coat /Sealer Application Process • Apply Base Coat Sealer first on Veneer Surfaces. • Sealer to be mixed with hardener and thinner in ratio specified by manufacturer. • Ensure mixture is applied within 8-10 hours after mixing for optimum finish. • Dry surfaces for 20-40 minutes after application depending on weather conditions. • Apply two coats for optimal finish and durability. • Sand surfaces with 180-320 grit sandpaper after each base coat.
3. Top Coat Application Process For Top Coat choose either Glossy for Gloss finish or Matte for Matte Finish. • Ensure two coats of top coat are applied for optimal finish and durability. • Ensure surfaces have dried thoroughly after application of each coat. • After each top coat, sand surfaces with 400, 600 & 1000 grit sandpaper incrementally.
What is PU Polish and how is it done?
PU ( Poly-Utherene) Polish
• Transparent clear coat • Enhances hardness after application • Resistant to dust, moisture, and sunlight • Easy to clean and maintain • Retains shine and lustre • Does not fade • Life span 10-15 years
Interior Grade – Do not expose to direct Sunlight or Water Exterior Grade – Sunlight and Water Resistant
1. Application Process Surface Preparation • Sand veneer surfaces with 180 & 220 grit sandpaper. • Clean sanded surfaces to remove any dirt, dust, marks and oil stains. • Fill undulations/cracks/nail-holes with wood filler of matching colour or preferred colour. • Apply Wood Stainer to suit colour theme if required. • For Top Coat choose either Glossy for Gloss finish or Matte for Matte Finish. • Ensure two coats of top coat are applied for optimal finish and durability. • Ensure surfaces have dried thoroughly after application of each coat. • After each top coat sand surfaces with 400, 600 & 1000 grit sandpaper incrementally.
2. Base Coat/ Sealer Application Process • Apply Base Coat Sealer first on Veneer Surfaces. • Apply 2 coats of base coat/ sealer. • Sealer to be mixed with hardener and thinner in ratio specified by manufacturer. • Ensure mixture is applied within 3 hours after mixing for optimum finish. • Ensure there is a 8-12 hour gap before applying the second coat.
3. Top Coat Application Process • For Top Coat choose either Glossy for Gloss finish or Matte for Matte Finish. • Ensure two coats of top coat are applied for optimal finish and durability. • Ensure surfaces have dried thoroughly after application of each coat. • After each top coat sand surfaces with 400, 600 & 1000 grit sandpaper incrementally.
What is Polycoat/Lamination Polish and how is it done?
Polyester (Poly-coat/Lamination) Polish
Transparent Clear Coat • Premium Quality High Gloss Mirror Finish • Enhances Hardness after Application • Resistant to Warmth, Moisture and Stains • Approximate 10 years of life span • Easy to Maintain
Interior Grade – Do not expose to direct Sunlight or Water Exterior Grade – Sunlight and Water Resistant
1. Application Process Surface Preparation • Sand veneer surfaces with 180 & 220 grit sandpaper. • Clean sanded surfaces to remove any dirt, dust, marks, and oil stains. • Apply Epoxy/Insulator coat, mix Epoxy & Epoxy Hardener in the ratio of 1:1. • After Epoxy dries, sand veneer surfaces with 320/400 grit sandpaper properly. • Fill undulations/cracks/nail-holes with wood filler of matching colour or preferred colour. • ôApply Wood Stainer to suit colour theme if required. • Buff the base coat sprayed surfaces with buffing soap using a twisted wood pad-buff. • Apply the rubbing compound on the surface using a straight wool pad-buff. • Use a soft wool pad-buff to buff and apply waxing cream to the surface with a rag. • Wipe the waxed surfaces with a fennel cloth.
2. Base Coat Application Process • Ensure epoxy coated surfaces are dried for 8 hours before application of base coat. • Sand epoxy coated veneer surfaces with 320 & 400 grit sandpaper. • Clean sanded surfaces to remove any dirt, dust, marks and stains. • Spray base coat Polyester Polish/ Poly-coat mixture on to the cleaned surfaces. • Spray 6 - 8 coats wet on wet with a 5 – 10 minutes gap between each coat. • Allow the veneers to dry for 24 hours after final coat is sprayed. • Sand base coat after drying using 320 – 400 grit sandpaper. • Wet Sanding to be done using 600, 1000, 1500 & 2000 grit sandpaper incrementally. • Wipe surfaces clean after each round of sanding.
3. Buffing • Buff the base coat sprayed surfaces with buffing soap using a twisted wood pad-buff. • Apply the rubbing compound on the surface using a straight wool pad-buff. • Use a soft wool pad-buff to buff and apply waxing cream to the surface with a rag. • Wipe the waxed surfaces with a fennel cloth.
What is veneer matching and how is it done?
Veneer matching involves the arrangement of similar or varied strips of veneer, with assorted grain patterns, across single or numerous panels.
Book Matched Veneer Alternating pieces of veneer are placed facing each other like the pages in a book. This creates a symmetrical pattern.
Slip Matched Veneer Veneer slices are joined in sequence without changes in pattern.
Reverse Slip Matched Veneer Veneer slices are joined but do not have to be the same way up.
Running Matched Veneer Non-symmetrical in appearance, with veneer pieces of unequal width used for each face.
Balanced Matched Veneer Symmetrical in appearance, with an odd or even number veneer pieces of uniform width used for each face.
Continuous End Matched Veneer This is used to extend the apparent length of the veneer. Leaves can be of individual patterns or slip matched.
Random Matched Veneer Veneer leaves are placed next to each other randomly to give varying patterns and sequences.