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.
Olive ash is not a specie in itself, rather it’s the name given to veneer cut from the dark heartwood of one of several European ashes. The dark on light stripes are reminiscent of true olive wood. Colors range from white to yellow to brown in varied combinations of color and markings. Grain may be straight, curly, or wavy. Olive ash burl veneer is highly prized for its turbulent markings and striking color contrasts.
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.
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.
English brown oak isn’t actually a separate species; rather it’s the result of a fungus that has infested the heartwood of a European oak and turned it a rich, dark brown. When that process doesn’t deteriorate the wood itself, it’s sliced to produce this highly desirable, deep brown veneer. Available in flat or quarter cuts as well as rift cut, which produces an exquisite flake pattern when sliced across the wood’s broad medullary rays.
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.