Akacio veneer is a little-known treasure from Central and South America. It has a lovely honey color, tan to brown lines, straight grain, and a medium texture. Against a fairly uniform background, this specie can produce a range of beautiful figures, including curly and fiddleback figures reminiscent of anegre or maple, and is an excellent, adaptable choice for a wide range of interior styles.
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.
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.
A favorite in modern interiors, beech is a straight grained wood with a very fine, even texture. While beech is naturally a creamy, almost white color, most beech is steamed, producing a consistent slightly pink hue in veneer. Flat cut veneers present a nice cathedral; quartered veneers carry a silvery fleck pattern. This specie produces a number of beautiful figures prized for interior architecture.
Thousands of centuries ago, Lebanese cedar was one of the world’s most precious woods, used in the construction of ancient temples and palaces. Today, this beautiful, decorative wood is now primarily grown in England and France. Rare and highly prized, most logs are produced by local European veneer merchants with local knowledge of the availability of this exceptional veneer.
Also known as juniper, the aromatic red cedar veneer tends to be a reddish or violet-brown with a pale yellow sapwood. A relatively small tree, the veneer produced typically includes copious knot marks. Red cedar stands are found in scattered locations over the eastern half of North America and their veneer is well suited to naturalistic and rustic interiors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gaboon is an elegant African wood with a lustrous, natural sheen. It ranges in color from pale pink to reddish brown and when quarter cut it often produces a beautiful broken stripe or rope figure. This moderately priced veneer comes in logs well sized for larger architectural projects; figured logs fetch higher prices.
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.
The largest of the hemlocks, this hemlock grows over 300’ tall from the Rockies to the Pacific coast. It has a straight grain, tightly spaced growth rings, somewhat course texture, and flat, uniform appearance with little distinction between the heartwood and sapwood. Hemlock takes finishing well and can be stained in virtually any color, making it an adaptable wood for interior projects.
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.
This tropical evergreen grows to impressive heights in consistently cylindrical trunks, making it ideal for veneer production for architectural use. It has an intense, warm, reddish-brown color—much like cherry—with contrasting occasional gray-brown streaks. Jatoba has a medium texture, interlocked grain, and very desirable natural luster.
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.
Larch is an exceptionally straight-grained veneer with a reddish-brown heartwood and thin, yellow-white sapwood. This tall, straight tree grows to exceptional heights, producing long lengths of clear veneer, primarily from the heartwood of the tree. Fumed, the typically medium colored wood turns a rich, dark, chocolate brown color reminiscent of African or tropical woods.
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.
Very little veneer is produced from the trunk, but large growths at the base of the madrona produce this remarkable burl veneer. In what some believe looks like an overhead view of a hilly landscape intertwined with waterways of swirly grain, this warm, inviting, and choice veneer is highly sought after for high-end architectural installations and custom millwork.
Artists and designers alike appreciate the elegant lines of this lighter alternative to African mahogany. It’s lighter in color, firmer in texture, and straighter in grain than its African counterpart. Among the finest woods in the world, this is a versatile and adaptable choice for architectural interiors.
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.
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.