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Veneers, their descriptions and uses in marquetry by Roy Murton

How many different types of veneer do you think there are available to the marquetarian? give up? well I'll tell you, there are some several hundred of them and every one of them is useful to us in it's own very special and unique way. We have a tonal range running from nearly pure white to virtually jet black encompassing all the various grades of depth and wonderful textural patterns in between that are available to us. Some of these veneers are very plentiful and others are rare and difficult to acquire, some are even left to age for decades before they become useful to us, so you see, in marquetry we have a incredible palette of splendidly figured colourful materials from which we can use to practice our pictorial art.

This series of articles will be in the nature of mini "tutorials" describing the most commonly used veneers and their suggested applications and uses in the world of marquetry. Each month or so I shall talk about twelve examples of veneers and suggest various applications and possible uses for each of them. To accompany these articles there will be a pictorial veneer gallery where you will be able to see examples of each veneer on display. These veneer examples will be directly scanned into our web site's data base and in doing this we should be able to avoid any of the photographic or film emulsion based inaccuracies that often occur.

So here are the first twelve veneers to begin the series:

1/. Afara: This is a mid to light golden veneer. It is reasonably straight grained with a slightly dappled sheen. Could be used for depicting items of clothing or still water. It is also known as Limba and originates from West Africa. It's Latin name is Terminalia superba.

2/. Australian Silky Oak: This is a mottled reddish brown veneer with a wonderful grain pattern that gives a very distinctive raggedy brick wall effect. Can often be seen used for decorative purposes on high quality furniture. It comes from, as you would no doubt suspect, Queensland, Australia. Latin name: Cardwellia sublimis.

3/. Avodire: Gold with a very distinctive sheen pattern. Marvellous for spectacular sky effects. Has also been used for depicting reflective water as well. This is another veneer that comes from West Africa, primarily the West Coast. Latin name: Turraenthus africana.

4/. Beech: A light creamy orange veneer with a slight, linearly 'speckled' grain pattern. A very versatile veneer that has many diverse uses in marquetry. This veneer is of European origin. Latin name: Fagus sylvatica.

5/. Birch: Almost white with a hint of tan. It has a smooth lightly figured grain pattern. Useful for plain skies or for covering areas of uniform light colour. This veneer comes from Canada. Latin name: Betula alleghaniensis.

6/. Bird's Eye Maple: Light pink with a dimpled look. Highly useful in portraits. It has a unique figuring that suits portrait work very well, you just have to try to avoid the 'pimples' as much as possible when using it for portraits. It comes from North America. Latin name: Acer saccharum.

7/. Brown Oak: Chocolate brown with a slightly dappled effect. It has a uniform look that can be used for areas of straight brown colour. This veneer comes from England. Latin name: Quercus robur.

8/. Eucalyptus: Light silvery brown. Straight uniform grain pattern. It has a nice mid toned appearance that can be used for plain walls or in-fills in busy sections of a picture. This comes from the home of the Koala Bear and is presumably the one they live in and eat the leaves of, the land of course is Australia. Latin name: Eucalyptus regnans.

9/. Mansonia: Greyish brown, although you can obtain it in a wide variety of tonal values from pale brown to a purplish brown. It's uses rather depend on the depth of colour you have with your sample, but it is a reasonably uniform in it's grain pattern and so is very adaptable to many uses. This is another West African veneer. Latin name: Mansonia altissima.

10/.Padauk: Deep red. Very distinctive and is used where a strong red colour is required without resorting to dyed veneers. This is an African veneer from the Andaman Islands area. Latin name: Pterocarpus dalbergiodes.

11/.Pearwood/Tree: A wonderfully smooth deep pink veneer. It cuts cleanly and easily. The grain pattern is almost reminiscent of matt paint. Useful for flat pink areas. European origin. Latin name: Pyrus communis.

12/.Sycamore: White with a tinge of cream. Very nice for high lights and accentuated white areas. This veneer comes from Great Britain. It's Latin name is: Acer pseudoplatanus.

That's the first twelve veneers. To see what they look like, click this link "Veneer Gallery". I'll be adding another twelve in a few weeks time, and then another twelve a few weeks after that until we've covered most of the commonly available examples.

I hope you will find these articles are helpful to you,
Best Wishes, Roy.

Veneer Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3 | Gallery 4 | Gallery 5 | Gallery 6 | Gallery 7 | Gallery 8

 Veneer Descriptions 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17