Material selection is an important part of all design projects with several considerations influencing the choices made. When it comes to choosing a timber veneer for your project, the key considerations are application, aesthetic and budget.

To begin with, consider the intended use or application of the veneer. Are you planning to use it for a ceiling, walls, floors or another purpose? Is there a risk of exposure to moisture, heat or foot traffic? Discuss these matters with us so we can tell you which timbers are best suited to your intended use. It is also important to consider the substrate. What exactly will be under the veneer? Common substrates include MDF, plywood, and particleboard or a fire retardant product.

A major consideration, perhaps the one most people are concerned with, is how it will look. Every timber species has unique characteristics. In addition, the way the timber is cut and the veneer leaves joined creates endless design possibilities. You can also finish or lacquer the veneer, which broadens your options further. While this is exciting, we can understand it may be overwhelming if it’s your first time using timber veneer. That’s why our team is on hand to help narrow down your selection.

When it comes to aesthetics, we suggest considering the timber species as your first step. Review catalogues and request samples to establish your preferences. You can also visit us to see first-hand the natural features of different species. No two logs are the same, which means you are guaranteed a bespoke outcome. However, we understand you don’t necessarily want a large variation between the finished panels for your project. Discuss variations in colour with us so we know what aesthetic outcome you are seeking to achieve.

Figure, which is the pattern on the surface of the veneer, is a characteristic that greatly impacts the aesthetic. There are many types of figure and some are more common in particular species. Feel free to ask us for examples. Types of figure include birdseye, butt, fiddleback, quilt, pommele and flame.

Another key consideration is the cut. Timber veneer is produced by peeling or slicing logs. Therefore, the way a log is cut greatly impacts how its natural patterns are displayed. The main cuts are quarter, crown and rotary.

Your project is also impacted by the way you choose to join the leaves or sheets of veneer. Book matching is perhaps the most common method whereby consecutive leaves are turned over like the pages of a book. This results in a series of pairs, as the reverse side of one leaf is the mirror image of the succeeding leaf. The other most common joining option is slip match where leaves of veneer are placed side-by-side without turning. Joining options also include book and butt matching as well as more specialised and creative options that we can discuss with you.

Timber veneers also require finishing, particularly if they will be used in furniture, joinery or fit-outs. A protective coating helps the veneer to resist daily wear and tear. We can advise the best coating for the species of veneer you have selected and its intended use.

Finally, we understand budget can also be a major factor in selecting a veneer for your project. Our team will assist you with choosing the species that best meets your project’s budgetary requirements.

Specifying timber veneer is an exciting, creative step in any project. We are always ready to provide advice and guidance to ensure your project turns out just like you imagined it.

Image Credit: Bent Architecture – Folded Bird Photography – BENT Pavilion