Often called African teak, afrormosia grows in relatively dry forests in the Congo basin of west Africa. Typically available in larger leaves than teak, it has a beautiful golden brown color; a fine, uniform texture; natural luster; and a typically straight grain that may produce a broken stripe when quarter cut. This veneer can be stained to a variety of colors and is a popular choice for architectural and boat interiors.
Considered among the best veneers in the poplar family, aspen ranges in color from almost pure white to light straw to warm tan. Favored logs produce a lovely, bright veneer with a beautiful, natural sheen. Aspen is often fumed to a rich, dark brown for use in modern environments. It mixes beautifully with stone and other materials in natural environments.
Avodire is a pale yellow African wood with a natural luster, moderate to fine texture, and very little contrast between heartwood and sapwood. A wide range of grain patterns and figures, combined with a shimmery chotoyance (cat’s eye effect), make it popular in cabinetry, furniture, and architectural interiors. Highly figured logs fetch high prices.
Among the whitest veneers, white birch is not actually a species, but is rather the sapwood of the yellow birch tree, selected specifically for its creamy white color. In the 50s, birch veneer was in its heyday—especially in home furniture—and is experiencing resurgence with the renewal of the modern aesthetic. A small tree (33’ on average), white birch produces smaller leaves than most trees. Its smooth surface makes it well suited for applying stains and glossy finishes.
In both color and aroma, bosse resembles cedar and for that reason this large West African tree is sometimes called African cedar. The color varies from pale pink to deep mahogany and veneer is often highly figured with fiddleback, mottle, or a highly prized pommele figure—all of which ensure one-of-a-kind architectural installations. Availability and cost can vary widely based on grain patterning and intensity.
Bubinga is a striking veneer with a very broad color spectrum ranging from pink to brownish-red to nearly violet. It has a beautiful texture and fine contrasting growth lines that may be wavy in some logs due to the grain’s interlocked fibers. Bee’s wing and block mottle figures are fairly common. Behemoth lengths and widths make it well suited for large architectural installations. When rotary cut, bubinga is called kevazinga. This African veneer is a sophisticated and elegant choice for interior environments.
Brought to Europe by invading Romans, chestnut loves the warmth and so it’s apt that it’s commonly found in the wine-growing regions across Europe and Asia. The veneer is yellow to dark brown with a strong grain pattern similar to oak, elm, or ash. The grain is straight with a somewhat coarse texture. European chestnut accepts stain readily and finishes easily.
While there are many ebonies, Macassar ebony is the best known and most commercially significant. This dramatic, bold wood is nearly black in color with thin, contrasting yellow-brown stripes and a beautiful sheen. Because the tree is small, veneer is rare, precious and highly sought after for cabinetry and architectural millwork. Also available in recon.
While most etimoe trees are tapped for rubber, untapped trees are often sliced to produce this rare and striking veneer. The light red-brown to grey-brown wood has a straight grain, often with striking black-red veins or stripes, and a fine, even, lustrous texture. Etimoe is available in large sizes and in a variety of figures, most commonly curly and fiddleback.
The rustic character of this wood works well in both contemporary and arcadian settings. The vivid, contrasting red-yellow stripe is typically straight, even, and seldom, if ever, figured. Generally quarter cut, more veneer and production plywood are made from this specie than any other worldwide.
This domestic tree, common to the southern US states, is highly prized for its beautiful, erratic grain, fine texture, contrasty colors, and beautiful silky luster. In figured logs, an irregular broken stripe creates an uncommon effect in quarter cut veneer. Large logs create excellent opportunities to use this beautiful domestic in large-scale projects.
A relative newcomer to the US market, jequitiba has grown in popularity in the last decade as an alternative to mahogany for rich, traditional interiors. The reddish to purple-brown heartwood, sometimes with dark streaks, varies only subtly from its paler sapwood. It has a medium luster, fine grain, and soft, smooth texture. These large trees produce ample size leaves for large installations. Flat cut, it has a pleasing cathedral figure; quartered wood may be figured.
Lacewood is an uncommon veneer with a conspicuous flecking that resembles lace when quarter cut. Reddish brown with a silvery sheen, this striking veneer has a straight grain and small flake–the result of cutting through the medullary ray, which is especially pronounced in the species. Lacewood is always quarter cut and can be fumed to a rich chocolate brown.
Although veneer is often labeled white or black limba, there is really just one limba tree. Black limba refers veneer selected from the darker heartwood of the tree—typically reddish brown with varying degrees of irregular black streaking—and is somewhat more rare than white limba, which is cut from the lighter sapwood of the same tree. Figured wood is highly prized for architectural use.
Mappa burl is actually the burl wood of a European poplar. This highly decorative veneer is particularly contrasty—its light brown heartwood is peppered by an unusual darker, bark-like pattern of tight clusters. This burl is stunning—an extraordinary and unexpected choice for furniture, cabinetry, and architectural applications.
One of the largest trees in equatorial Africa, this tropical hardwood’s immense size ensures large leaves and volumes of veneer well suited for architectural use. Regarded for its shimmering luster that refracts light, this species ranges from pinkish brown to rich red in color with a fine, even texture, and a typically straight grain that may be decorated with a wide range of widely variable figures, including a highly prized pommele. As with most veneers, almost every log is unique.
Movingui is an exotic wood with a lustrous surface, fine texture, and bright lemony-gold to orange-brown color. It has a fine, even texture and produces a variety of figures including fiddleback, mottle, and bee’s wing. Deviations in the fiber appear as horizontal stripes that emphasize its satiny finish. Because it resembles satinwood, particularly in its intense luster, it’s sometimes called Nigerian satinwood.
This contrasty African relative of rosewood has a deep brown background with notable dark brown to ebony streaking and a nice natural luster. Outside Africa it’s increasingly used as a more affordable substitute for walnut. Produced in both quarter and flat cut veneers, this intense and well veined veneer is in demand for high-end architectural settings--the stronger the veining, the more valuable the wood. Due to its excellent tonal qualities, the wood is prized for the production of musical instruments.
This European fruit tree produces a very fine-grained wood with a uniform texture and a partial flame that is both beautiful and decorative. The wood is often pith-marked and occurs in colors from rosy cream to light reddish brown in both plain and figured logs. When fumed, pearwood turns a rich, dark brown; when stained black, it provides an excellent substitute for ebony.
A cousin of the hickory, the pecan tree was so central to native Americans in the lower Mississippi river valley that it was associated with the Great Spirit. Today the tree is cultivated in southern orchards for nuts and is prized as a fine cabinet wood. It has a typically straight grain, a medium texture, low natural sheen, a medium reddish-brown heartwood and paler yellow sapwood, and may be figured. Pecan stains well and is sometimes stained to match or replicate other woods.
Planetree is a particularly decorative veneer—reddish-gray with a silvery sheen, straight grain, and a lovely small flake in quarter cut veneer, the result of cutting through its extremely regular medullary rays. Found in wetland habitats across Europe, it's said to be the specie of the famed Solitary Tree that legend says marked the spot of the battle between Alexander the Great and Darius in northern Persia.
Vintage knotty spruce is sliced from hand-hewn beams reclaimed from old farmhouses, barns, or commercial buildings. Preserving the natural character of the wood, the beams are washed, de-nailed, dimensionally sorted, and then sliced into veneer. The veneer is generally straight grained with knotty characteristics that include splits, checks, nail holes, and occasional discolorations that reflect its history and give the wood a rustic feel. This veneer is sliced at 1.4 mm and intended for use in random sequences.
Teak is among the oldest commercial lumbers and remains a popular wood today, particularly in Asia, the US, and Scandinavia. It ranges in color from straw colored (which some consider the most desirable) to dark, dusty brown with fine, dark, contrasting stripes. Flat cut, the mineral streaks provide a contrasty grain structure in the cathedral pattern, much like American walnut. Pure golden teak without mineral streaking is available, but rare. Reconstituted teak is a manmade product that provides the beauty of teak with outstanding consistency in color and grain from sheet to sheet. Also available in recon.
This African species is easily recognized by its exotic, tiger-like look—deep reddish-orange with dark stripes that vary from fine lines to heavy, pronounced swatches. Like mahoganies, tigerwood has a lustrous surface, good yields, and is highly adaptable for furniture, cabinetwork, and matched architectural paneling.
Tineo is prized for its unique and interesting colors—the typically pinkish-brown veneer is marked with bold, exotic streaks of purple, dark green, blue, and/or black. Found primarily in South America, this wood is sometimes called Indian Apple. The veneer is straight grained with a fine to medium texture, and a lovely natural luster.