Searching for the right tree
Only experts find the perfect log for the finest veneer
Bad Honnef. On examining a piece of high-quality veneered furniture it is clear that wood could hardly be presented in a more attractive way. Proven experts search the forest for the flawless tree for the perfect furniture surface.
Even most well-read nature lovers can only say something about the tree species, the rough age of the tree and its individual habitat conditions. Only specialists, on the other hand, can identify a real veneer tree. And that is not easy at all, because there are around 40,000 wood species worldwide. “Only around 200 species are suit-able for veneer production and only very few trees of a species are attractive enough to produce outstanding veneer”, said the forestry manager Axel Groh, Chairman of the Board of Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN). Yet what does the ideal veneer tree look like?
How an expert recognises a good veneer tree
The perfect veneer tree has regular, straight growth. “The log should also be as round as possible and not twisted. In addition, the bark should be uniform, without large branches in the area to be converted into veneer”, explained Groh, who can call upon many years of experience in selecting trees suitable for veneer at home and abroad. Damage to the wood due to lightning strike or another top-pled tree is a no-go. The same goes for insect attack or insect dam-age. “If the selected tree passes the critical eye of the expert, it is taken to the veneer producer and is processed to produce wonderful, fine veneer to match the customer's wishes. The fillet of the tree then blossoms into new life as a natural surface on innumerable pleasing objects in life”, concluded Groh. IFN/DS
How veneer is made:
Veneer is obtained from the wood of selected trees, which are mainly grown in sustainably managed forests. The tree species mostly used are Maple, Beech, Oak, Ash and Walnut from domestic, European and in the case of Oak, Maple and Walnut, from American forests too. If the right tree has been found it is peeled, sliced or sawn. This produces sheets of wood, which are around 0.45 to 6 millimetres thick. These are dried, stacked according to quality and grade, are cut and are put together to form a deck. These veneer decks are then bonded and pressed onto substrate materials such as solid wood laminboards, particleboards, MDF panels, multiplex panels or plywood.
Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN)
Initiative Furnier + Natur (IFN) e.V. was founded in 1996 by the German veneer industry and its partners. The purpose of the association based in Bad Honnef is to promote veneer as a material. It is funded and supported by European companies in the veneer industry, trade and the veneer processing industry as well as professional associations of the timber industry.
The search for the right veneer tree is often like the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack. Photos: IFN
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