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 07:56 PM 4080 reads 4 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 of 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’ébène”.

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

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 fibreglass trees.

32 comments so far

View Sodabowski's profile


2374 posts in 2860 days

#1 posted 10-21-2013 08:01 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!)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View Patti Zongker's profile

Patti Zongker

203 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 10-21-2013 08:06 PM

That was really cool… thanks for sharing Paul :)

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

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3951 days

#3 posted 10-21-2013 08:11 PM

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

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3336 days

#4 posted 10-21-2013 08:18 PM

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

View Patricelejeune's profile


375 posts in 1948 days

#5 posted 10-21-2013 08:21 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


1277 posts in 2566 days

#6 posted 10-21-2013 08:29 PM

That is incredible Paul. Great trip for sure!

-- I never finish anyth

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3675 days

#7 posted 10-21-2013 08:30 PM

Wow. neat.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20599 posts in 3133 days

#8 posted 10-21-2013 09:09 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


810 posts in 3747 days

#9 posted 10-21-2013 11:15 PM

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

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3331 days

#10 posted 10-21-2013 11:15 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


321 posts in 2501 days

#11 posted 10-22-2013 12:33 AM

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

View MontanaBob's profile


831 posts in 2711 days

#12 posted 10-22-2013 01:08 AM

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

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

436 posts in 2362 days

#13 posted 10-22-2013 01:19 AM

Very interesting Paul. Thanks for putting this together.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View Schwieb's profile


1858 posts in 3489 days

#14 posted 10-22-2013 02:16 AM

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


876 posts in 1932 days

#15 posted 10-22-2013 02:22 AM

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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