A Few Holiday Photos #3: Buying Sawn Veneer in Paris (with saw video)

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 10-21-2013 at 12:56 PM 1954 reads 3 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Lots of good figured olive veneer here ! Part 3 of A Few Holiday Photos series Part 4: A New Friend in England and a Sailing Regatta »

I recently returned from a trip to England, Belgium and France. After leaving England and the historic naval dockyards in Portsmouth and touring the battlegrounds of the first world war in Belgium to pay my respects, the next stop was Paris which was destined from the start to be the highlight of my holiday. To some Paris may be the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or the palace at Versailles….............

They are fine and I did see them but the real attraction for me this trip was an old building out on Rue Gallieni where some of the last sawn veneer in the world can be found. I won’t get into singing the praises of this stuff here but suffice to say that at about ten times the price Hof the common sliced veneer we see here it is pretty special.

You would never think, looking at the outside of the building, what a treasure it holds within. The veneers are spectacular and the saw that cuts it is a real treat to a woodworker’s eyes.

I know that a better video of “la scie au bois montant” (the saw of the rising wood) exists and has been posted on LJ’s already but while very similar, this one is special (to me anyway) ..... I took it myself.

In this piece the wood being cut is an ebony. The veneer is the piece with the clip attached to it and the vertical log is very slowly rising up into the blade. It’s easy to see that this is a much more time consuming operation than slicing would be. Also seen in this clip are two people at the very end. The one making the “V” sign is none other than our own LJ in Paris, Thomas (aka sodabowski hereabouts) and the one at the very end is the very friendly and accommodating Frederic George.

Having seen the saw we got down to work. We walked through the mind boggling warehouse of rare and exotic woods in log, plank and veneer form and all the way down at the end we descended down a little ramp into “le cave” the cool cellar where the fine veneers are kept. Just when I thought I had reached the inner sanctum of this woodworker’s holy place, Frederic slid open a sliding door at one end of the small dim room revealing an even smaller, darker one. “Would you like to start with ebony?” he said.

At this point I have to stop and thank Thomas because Frederic didn’t say the above in English. I speak enough French to get by and Frederic speaks probably as much English but the whole process was greatly facilitated by having a translator who was fluent in both.

Now I’ll let the pictures tell the rest.

This is “le cave” where the sawn veneers live. The sliding door with the sign on it leads to “le cave de l’ébene”.

Frederic George shows me some nice placages de l’ébene.

Thomas picks through what may be the most exotic and expensive “scrap bin” I’ve ever seen.

Thank you Thomas.

Now comes the hard part. I have to wait a couple of weeks for it all to arrive. I’ll post some pictures when it does.

Thanks for looking in.


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

32 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2002 posts in 1470 days

#1 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:01 PM

It was a blast to be there with you Paul :) Sadly we forgot to take pictures of the kebab! :D
(by the way you guys can chek out my new haircut!)

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View Patti Zongker's profile

Patti Zongker

175 posts in 2063 days

#2 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:06 PM

That was really cool… thanks for sharing Paul :)

-- Follow your passion, and success will follow you.

View sandhill's profile


2120 posts in 2561 days

#3 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:11 PM

Wow welcome home, What a thrill that must have been. Lucky guy… Can’t wait to see the bounty.

-- Bob Egbert AKA Sandhill

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5032 posts in 1945 days

#4 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:18 PM

Paul…Now that is what I would call a great vacation….

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View Patricelejeune's profile


247 posts in 557 days

#5 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:21 PM

Going to George is always an experience, you always come back at the same time poorer and also richer.
And you always feel you did not have enough money.

Thanks for posting. I haven’t been back in 3 years, and to Georges’ in 5 maybe.

What did you pick?


-- Patrice lejeune

View Philip's profile


1106 posts in 1176 days

#6 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:29 PM

That is incredible Paul. Great trip for sure!

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View Loren's profile


7464 posts in 2285 days

#7 posted 10-21-2013 at 01:30 PM

Wow. neat.


View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11341 posts in 1742 days

#8 posted 10-21-2013 at 02:09 PM

Nice find on your trip, Paul. I’ll bet you were drooling over all the fine veneer!!!!!!!!...........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View kenn's profile


787 posts in 2357 days

#9 posted 10-21-2013 at 04:15 PM

Amazing! Looking forward to what you bought and what you make.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View grizzman's profile


6959 posts in 1940 days

#10 posted 10-21-2013 at 04:15 PM

ok…now wait a minute here, you called this a holiday….what is life on FRIENDSHIP and months in arizona…LOL…what a fabulous trip…i cant grasp the place you went to, the wood, the wood, and the wood, its more then the mortal mind can conceive…but im trying to process this, what a grand holiday you had, i can only dream of such a trip, but paul, you certainly look happy and i cant wait to see the wood you bought…thank you so much for showing this part and also the ship yards, it was wonderful…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View JeremyPringle's profile


281 posts in 1111 days

#11 posted 10-21-2013 at 05:33 PM

Sooooo freaking awesome!!! Cant make the exclamation points big enough.

View MontanaBob's profile


419 posts in 1321 days

#12 posted 10-21-2013 at 06:08 PM

Outstanding trip.Thanks for sharing…Looking forward to what’s next..

-- To realize our true destiny, we must be guided not by a myth from our past, but by a vision of our future

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

236 posts in 972 days

#13 posted 10-21-2013 at 06:19 PM

Very interesting Paul. Thanks for putting this together.

-- J.C.Sellers

View Schwieb's profile


1499 posts in 2098 days

#14 posted 10-21-2013 at 07:16 PM

How neat it is that you have seen this, met Thomas before I did and had such a great trip. I am jealous. Thanks for sharing, and Thomas looks so different with his new do!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View MrFid's profile


520 posts in 541 days

#15 posted 10-21-2013 at 07:22 PM

Wow what a neat vacation! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us with the veneer. I have a feeling the Chevy will be getting a workout!

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

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