The advantages of Veneered Furniture
Don’t make the mistake to think veneered furniture is inferior to solid wood furniture.
The most popular perception is that furniture that incorporates veneers is lower quality than solid wood pieces. In reality, most fine furniture is made of a combination of veneers and other wood types. If you study the elegant antique furniture showcased in museums, you will see expertly crafted veneered furniture that has withstood the test of time.
Solid woods and veneers are both excellent materials when used in the proper place and well-constructed. The following points will help you discern the difference between the two materials, understand their proper usage, and recognize quality craftsmanship.
Veneer wood pieces begin with thin layers of wood glued together with the grain at the right angles over a thick core. This crisscross design reduces the chance of cracks and splits appearing. Many people mistakenly assume that veneered is inferior or cheap compared to solid wood, but in actual truth, veneers are very often used in high end pieces.
Veneers offer the following design advantages:
- Defects of the wood are eliminated during the manufacturing process.
- Veneers are thin enough to bend and can be shaped by the manufacturer which accommodates curves.
- Sheets of veneers can be combined to form interesting designs that would not be possible to achieve with solid woods.
- Since veneer is glued with a waterproof adhesive to a stable substrate it produces surfaces not prone to warp or splitting or seasonal movement.
If conserving natural resources is a priority, then furniture made of wood veneers is a great choice. The veneering technology makes it possible to get 15 to 20 tables out of the same lumber used to create just one solid wood table. The substrate used as the base for the veneer is an eco-friendly way to use lower grade lumber or particle board made up of recycled sawdust.
MORE ADVANTAGES OF VENEERED FURNITURE…
- By using veneers it helps to achieve a decorative grain pattern. With solid timber this will be impossible due to either the timber’s seasonal movement or its structural inadequacy. Because veneers are thinly cut it allows for several layers to be sliced from the same board or log so that grain patterns are maintained within each bundle (typically 25 leaves in a bundle). This allows the craftsman to arrange these repetitive patterns in several ways such as book matching and it maintains an even wood texture over a larger surface area.
- Using veneers can help prevent warping and other problems that may occur to solid wood as humidity levels change.
- Using veneers in furniture is far more environmentally friendly than solid wood. In theory one could say that for every standard board of solid wood one could achieve 40 times the surface coverage of that board if it could be sliced into veneers. This is obviously a recommended practice in trying to save rare wood species.
- Solid wood can prone to warping and cracking over time since changing moisture content between seasons can cause movement.
- Since the core boards that veneers are attached to tend not to move or warp veneered furniture generally has a greater stability than solid wood and this is one of its main attractions. The best grain can be selected for the veneer so that there is more control over the appearance of the finished piece and less use of precious hardwoods.
- The cost of veneered wood is sometimes lower though this is not always the case since very high quality veneered furniture can be just as expensive as solid wood.
In the end it comes down to the suitability of each of the pieces of furniture in question as well as the quality of the design and workmanship. Often the two will be mixed so that for example a table may have solid legs with a veneered top.
Perhaps the most important question to ask is: “Do I love this piece of furniture and is it in my price range…?”