Ancient Norwegians considered a mythological ash tree to be the center of the world. Among the palest colored veneers, ash has a lustrous surface, beautiful straight grain, a light stripe effect, and subtle contrast between its light tan heartwood and creamy sapwood. It produces a wide range of beautiful, shimmering figures and delicate burls. Extremely strong, ash is the lumber of choice for parallel bars, baseball bats and tool handles. In veneer, it’s prized for high quality furniture and for use in light, open interiors.
Red birch is not actually a specie—but is rather veneer cut from the darker heartwood of the yellow birch tree. Rich reddish-brown in color (the sapwood is almost pure white), this veneer is a fine, versatile, and popular choice in architectural interiors. When figured, it typically presents a curly or mottle figure. Its smooth surface makes it well suited for applying stains and glossy finishes.
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.
American cherry is a timeless and elegant veneer that has a satiny finish and fine, lustrous grain marked with natural pitch flecks and small gum pockets. Typically darker than European cherry, the veneer can vary widely in color from pale pink to reddish brown. Flat cut, it produces a beautiful cathedral pattern. Figured, it exhibits a fine fiddleback or rope figure.
Red elm has a lively, decorative grain and a pale reddish-brown color interspersed with lovely light effects that result from wood’s medullary rays. Found primarily around the Great Lakes region, (and commonly referred to as slippery elm in tree form) this elegant domestic is a hardy survivor of the Dutch elm disease that wiped out millions of elms worldwide.
While most hickory is cut for lumber due to its strength and density, this traditional domestic beauty is increasingly available in veneer. Hickory has a notable contrast between its reddish heartwood and lighter sapwood. The grain is usually straight, but can be wavy or irregular in some flitches. Texture is course and porous with a matte finish. This is a quintessential domestic wood—lively in appearance and rich in American woodworking tradition.
From the same tree that produces maple syrup, comes this beautiful veneer that ranges in color from snow white to warm yellow; has a close, fine luminous texture; and a lovely straight grain that may be interspersed with natural character marks. A wide range of gorgeous figures and wild grain distortions—from curly to bird’s eye to maple burl—are sought after for distinctive paneling and furniture. Flat cut maple displays the distinctive heart or cathedral pattern.