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What Is Veneer?

Here at reLove we are always finding fun, unique furniture and decoration pieces that are hard to find anywhere else.  While we are focused on quality in our products, one thing that is frequently asked by our customers is whether the piece is wood or veneer?  While this is a fair question, it got us thinking about how much do we really know about veneer.  

Over the years is seems that the term “veneer” has become synonymous with poor quality, this is in part thanks to stores like Walmart and Target who specialize in lower quality “throw away” that are not real wood.  Even better quality brands like Ikea, rely heavily on products that are not solid wood to give us a cheap but stylish product that we get to assemble ourselves. Yeah!!!

That said, by simply asking “Is it veneer?” you could inadvertently decide not to purchase a fantastic piece of finely constructed high quality furniture that even a Solid Wood piece can’t offer you.  But in order to make the right call we have to ask what is veneer?

Maybe the best way to do this is by changing our question from “Is it veneer?” to “What type of veneer is it?”   Veneer is historically been considered a thinly sliced piece of high quality wood like a walnut, maple or any number of other beautiful woods (in which the veneer itself could be very expensive to purchase) is glued onto a “lesser quality” or better put more plentiful wood like pine or oak.

However, over time veneer has taken on a different meaning as is generally understood to mean any thinly sliced material that is glued onto any kind of wood.  This understanding is not accurate!!!

Here at reLove we are discovering that not in all cases, but in many cases when a customers ask us “is it solid wood?” or “is it veneer?” what they are really asking is whether “it’s wood?” or whether “it's laminated?”.  While the processes seem similar lamination is a process by which a plastic sheet or a resin is either glued to or poured over a fiber board, press board or particleboard surface.

The use of plastics creates a surface that is less susceptible to staining and more resistant to scratches and overall wear and tear. However, it is often associated with a lesser quality and for most people that upcycle product whether for fun or for a business, laminated surfaces really can’t be worked with in any type of artistic or constructive way and generally isn’t as aesthetically pleasing to the eye.   

Although veneer does use a glued layer of wood to surround the furniture, it is still considered in most cases solid wood. It does not inhibit anyone from sanding, staining or painting a piece of veneer furniture as all of these practices are very common when refinishing a veneer piece.  While we do from time to time see veneer applied to a particle board of some kind, in most cases it solid wood that it's being applied to. But asking the question “What is the veneer attached too?”  can go a long way to helping you decided whether it’s the quality piece you are looking for or not as well.

Structurally speaking veneer has some amazing qualities that often times gets overlooked.

  1. Heavy Duty Constructions- While solid wood strong often times we find laminate pieces can utilize thicker piece of construction wood that really give the piece staying power and allow them to stand up to the abuse of everyday items like dressers.
  2. Artists Design- In many cases because the craftsman that are working with veneer have the freedom to work with a more readily available wood they have the ability to come up with some truly creative pieces knowing that when the frame is complete they will be able to wrap it in a finishing veneer that will make it truly pop.  As a result we see a lot of pieces that are fun and cool designs that might not have been produced without the use of veneers.
  3. Splitting- Due to the layering of veneer on top of solid wood veneer pieces tend not to split.  While solid wood will split as it swells from moisture and drys over the years.

Here at reLove we work hard to find awesome pieces that you will enjoy for years and while there is nothing quite like a solid wood piece of furniture we also know that the quality and craftsmanship found in a piece that has veneer layering can be just as amazing.

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