Veneer is the Future: Part 1


We make the case that the material used on the finest furniture of the past should be in your future.
By Marc Adams
Pages: 38-45

From the October 2010 issue # 185
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I work with veneers! There I said it – this must be what it feels like to come out of the closet. I cut my teeth as a woodworker when veneering furniture was frowned upon. And often I had to educate my clients on why veneered furniture is as worthy as solid-wood furniture.

Wood veneer is a remarkable material that has been used for centuries. It is cost efficient, easy to work, comes in a variety of colors and textures, can be purchased in sequential order and matched together architecturally, can be used decoratively, is easy to repair and can even increase the value of your work. That’s right – increase the value of your work.

The truth is that the majority of the priceless furniture pieces made during the Renaissance are covered with veneer. In fact, working with veneer goes back centuries before the Renaissance. Egyptians imported cedar, cypress and ebony from Syria and Africa. These logs were cut into veneers to adorn the furniture of the Pharaohs. So the question is, if veneer was so highly regarded throughout antiquity, then why would using it in modern America be so objectionable?

I guess it boils down to two reasons: resources and production. When the first settlers came to this land, trees were abundant and the furniture built by the Colonists was made with simple tools and local materials. Because wood was so readily available and easy to work, it became the standard for how furniture was to be made. Because traditional furniture was handmade with solid wood, it’s perceived as more durable and, probably because it is heavier, far more substantial. For this reason, the mindset is that solid wood means better quality.

Video: Watch a video tour of our visit to the David R. Webb Veneer Mill.
Blog: Read Robert W. Lang’s blog entries about his visit to a veneer mill.
Web site: Visit the web site for the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.
To buy: Get veneer from Certainly Wood.
In our store: “The Woodworker’s Guide to Veneering & Inlay.”


From the October 2010 issue # 185
Buy this issue now