Specifiers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing from the broad selection of Tasmanian veneers for their projects.

Tasmanian veneers have long been preferred for a variety of applications in interior design, especially when creating furniture, custom doors and cabinetry. Traditionally, designers chose veneer for its uniform appearance. Veneer, which is produced by thinly slicing one large piece of timber, is capable of matchless repetition, allowing designers to ensure visual consistency in cabinetry and linings, particularly in large commercial fitouts. The veneer sheet or layon is adhered to a substrate such as MDF, and often matched with solid-sawn timber of the same species in furniture, joinery and lining to deliver a seamless colour palette across vast expanses.

However, veneer is rising in popularity today for its ability not to blend in, but instead to be different.

Hotels are lining guestroom ceilings with distinctive combinations of Black Heart Sassafras, while others are setting themselves apart with oversized bed heads created with almost floor to ceiling Blackwood.

Veneers are available in endless colour and grain variations, and can be cut and assembled into almost unlimited pattern combinations.

“There's tremendous artistic availability in veneers,” says Michael Lee, technical officer at the Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood.

“All Tasmanian timbers are available as veneers with ample availability in both sheets and in layons including thick veneers, standard veneers or full-size sheets.

“And, our suppliers are able to book match, and match coatings with different veneers to deliver some really beautiful and unique products.”

Tasmanian veneer is available in an extensive range of species, grades, grains, colours and patterns.

Products include: Tasmanian Oak Quarter Cut, Tasmanian Oak Natural Quarter Cut, Tasmanian Oak Crown Cut, Tasmanian Oak Natural Crown Cut, Tasmanian Oak Mismatched, Tasmanian Oak High Feature, Tasmanian Wormy Chestnut, Tasmanian Ash Quarter Cut, Tasmanian Plantation Oak Quarter Cut, Tasmanian Plantation Oak Crown Cut, Blackwood Crown Cut, Blackwood Quarter Cut, Blackwood Mismatched, Blackheart Sassafras, Blackheart Sassafras – Wild, Celery Top Pine, Golden Sassafras, Huon Pine Prime, Huon Pine Bird’s Eye, Tasmanian Myrtle, Macrocarpa, Radiata Pine and Silver Wattle.

Treating timber species with care by maximising recovery

According to Lee, veneer not only delivers design excellence but also environmental benefits.

“One of the biggest advantages of veneers is that we’re able to stretch the resource, getting the available recovery into more square footage of available material.

“This is especially important when we’re dealing with minor species that need to be treated with care to ensure the most is being made out of the material.

“Blackheart Sassafras is a typical example of a minor species, which is fairly limited and only occurs naturally. We’ve tried to recreate the unique figuring that’s found in this species, but we haven’t been able to replicate what happens in nature.

“Using Blackheart Sassafras as a veneer is a great way of getting the look of the species on a large scale from a small volume of material.

“For a special species like Fiddleback Blackwood, which occurs naturally as a result of things like growth stresses but only appears in around 5% of the material harvested, veneer is a great option.”

Photo: Sheets of Tasmanian Veneer (Image: Alice Bennett Photography)