Veneer vs. solid lumber

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Forum topic by maryhillrat posted 02-07-2009 04:23 AM 1417 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 3631 days

02-07-2009 04:23 AM

I’ve always made projects with solid hardwoods before, I have the perception that veneers are cheating (not saying it’s right…) but… I really enjoy the modern/art styles of furniture and I’m looking at starting a dining table that can’t be made with solid hardwoords for a decent price. What’s the opinion of the worth (personal worth not monetary) of veneered pieces vs. solid? What I mean is, is the wow factor when people see it any different?


5 replies so far

View Karson's profile


35152 posts in 4635 days

#1 posted 02-07-2009 04:47 AM

Veener gives you some designs and woods that you would never be able to afford. It’s a great addition to your woodworking skills.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3915 days

#2 posted 02-07-2009 05:12 AM

I think that if you like veneer(s), then great, that’s a good thing, and if you don’t then it’s your opinion, and it’s right (for you). I have a few pieces of some very nice black walnut veneer at home, but I just haven’t found the right use for it yet. I’d like to use it one day, for something, I just don’t know what. Chances are, that when I do, I’ll use it over solid wood though, Pine or Poplar.

It’s worth what it’s worth to you, or the client. No one else really matters.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View SwedishIron's profile


142 posts in 3876 days

#3 posted 02-07-2009 08:51 AM

I’m just now coming around to appreciate veneering for what it brings to woodworking. Many people, as I thought associate the idea that veneering cheapens a piece or is somehow cheating because its not using solid wood for all surfaces. But as I research and look into the roots of early American furniture building and the influences of European furniture I can now see why they embraced it. Take a look at William & Mary, federal, English, french.. so many other styles of furniture to see how veneering provides a technique for embellishing pieces by introducing different textures by way of the use of grain pattern orientation, depth using darker and lighter colored figured woods, contrast by using sand tinted veneers and patterns using banding.

Another aspect veneering brings to woodworking is value, it allows you to use different woods that would be otherwise cost prohibitive and out of consideration. Veneering allows woodworkers to take a unique chunk of burl or crotch wood and after being resawn provides a woodworker has the means to use that wood across a set of drawer fronts. Those book matched or flitch cut veneers introduce consistency or a repetitive pattern to a piece. The introduction of those new design elements: pattern, consistency can take a great piece of furniture and make it an amazing piece.

Karson said it well, veneering is just another skill to add to your woodworking toolbox and it might not be used in every piece but in the right situations it will be appropriate.

-- Scott, Colorado

View FRITZ's profile


81 posts in 3834 days

#4 posted 03-21-2009 03:16 AM

veneer can add wonders to your project,, if you ever need some nice exotic veneer at a good price feel free to check me out or give me a call [ebay rjfritz123]
thanks ron

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3979 days

#5 posted 03-21-2009 04:52 AM

Veneering works good also for panels in traditional furniture. You don’t have to worry about the panel shrinking and expanding, causing joint problems. It’s not going to save you work. Veneering is a lot more time consuming than making a solid panel, but the results are just as good. I like using it over MDF for panels. Veneer is so thin, it’s movement is so small it’s not going to cause any problems. But if the wood you put it on moves more than the veneer, you will have cracks or bubbles.
Cutting your own veneer will let you take a very nice, figured piece of wood and use it many times over, rather just in one spot.
Like has already been said, it’s the best way to go if you’re interested in bends.

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