As is the case with all design projects, there are a number of considerations when choosing materials. In the case of timber veneer, we would suggest the key ones are: application, aesthetic, and budget.
Firstly, consider the intended use or application of the veneer. Are you planning to use it for a ceiling, walls, floors or another purpose? Is there a risk it may be exposed to moisture, heat or foot traffic? Discuss these matters with us so we can tell you which timbers are best suited to your intended use. It is also important to consider the substrate. What exactly will be under the veneer? Common substrates include MDF, plywood, and particleboard or a fire retardant product.
A major consideration, probably the one most people are concerned with, is how it will look. Every timber species has unique characteristics. In addition, the way the timber is cut and the veneer leaves joined means there are literally endless design possibilities. You also have option when you finish or lacquer the veneer, which broadens your options further. While this is exciting, we can understand it may be overwhelming if it’s your first time using timber veneer. That’s why our team are on hand to help narrow down your selection.
In regards to aesthetics, we suggest considering the timber species as your first step. Review catalogues and request samples to establish what your preferences are. It can also assist to visit us to see first-hand the natural features of different species. No two logs are the same, which means you are guaranteed a bespoke outcome. However, we understand you don’t necessarily want large variation between the finished panels for your project. So be sure to discuss variations in colour and figure with us so we know what aesthetic outcome you are seeking to achieve.
Figure is a characteristic that greatly impacts the aesthetic and is the pattern on the surface of the veneer. There are many types of figure and some are more common in particular species. Feel free to ask us for examples. Types of figure include: birdseye, butt, fiddleback, quilt, pommele, and flame.
Another key consideration is the cut. Timber veneer is produced by peeling or slicing logs. Therefore the way a log is cut greatly impacts how its natural patterns are displayed. The main cuts are quarter, crown, and rotary.
Your project is also impacted by the way you choose to join the leaves, or sheets, of veneer. Book matching is perhaps the most common method whereby consecutive leaves are turned over like the pages of a book. This results in a series of pairs, as the reverse side of one leaf is the mirror image of the succeeding leaf. The other most common joining options is slip match where leaves of veneer are placed side-by-side without turning. Other joining options include book and butt matching as well as more specialised and creative options that we can discuss with you.
Timber veneers also require finishing, particularly if they will be used in furniture, joinery or a fit-out. A protective coating helps the veneer to resist daily wear and tear. We can advise the best coating for the species of veneer you have selected and its intended use.
Finally, we understand budget can also be a major factor in selecting a veneer for your project. Our team are more than happy to assist with choosing the species that best meets your project requirements.
Specifying timber veneer is an exciting, creative step in any project. We are always ready to provide advice and guidance to ensure your project turns out just like you imagined it!