Locating an exceptional example of a particular decorative veneer is always a pleasure so we are delighted to have recently acquired a stunning log of QUILTED MAPLE
which is over ten feet long – an unusually good length for this type of veneer. Light in colour and beautifully figured, this is a very special piece and would be ideal for a high-end interior project. Let us know if you would like further particulars.
is causing considerable interest, looking as it does like sawn timber and with visible saw marks. We are now stocking this in ELM, LARCH, FUMED LARCH, OAK, FUMED OAK, RED GUM, and WALNUT. A few other species are available to order so please feel free to let us know if you have any special requirements for rough-cut. It is yet another option for an interestingly different surface look and seems to have hit the spot for special one-off kitchens especially.
Another new species that we’ve added to our range is named by our supplier as MALAYSIAN TIGERWOOD
. We understand that it belongs to the same family as Australian Silky Oak although it does look quite different. Background colour is a light orangey brown with the main feature being the dark, almost black, series of narrow stripes that runs along the length. Between these stripes can be seen small medullary rays. We have two high grade rift-cut logs available.
has been difficult to find for quite some time, with so many older trees having been killed off by Dutch Elm disease. There will be some years yet before this species becomes as widely available as it once was. We were pleased therefore when one of the veneer mills we regularly deal with recently got in touch to let us know they had sourced a few good logs. After a short discussion these were then produced into 0.6mm, 1.4mm and 2.4mm thickness and are now sitting in our warehouse.
European grown trees of DOUGLAS FIR
are now being felled a little more and, for most of us who are used to seeing veneer from logs originating from North America, it is clear that the European logs have a different appearance in that they show a distinctly wider grain. It seems that the European climate is conducive to faster growth so that more wood is laid down each year, thus leaving the annual rings wider apart. The species is the same, although we tend to call the veneer from America OREGON PINE. We are now stocking European grown Douglas Fir veneer in 0.7mm and 1.4mm thickness.
Requests for samples have always been regarded as something of a pain to all veneer
merchants, often necessitating the forking down of a series of crates and then cutting
or breaking off a small piece from the end of a bundle. Our thinking behind commissioning
the photography for this website was that it should also reduce the demand for samples.
Unfortunately it seems to have had the opposite effect and the number of sample
requests has actually increased. Therefore, in order to address this matter head
on, we have organized a fully stocked sample library of normal thickness veneers.
This means that we can offer, usually by return, small hand samples of the vast
majority of the species we stock. Due to the size of the bins in which they are
stored these are a little under A4 size at around 275mm in length.
Whilst we shall be happy to supply individual veneer samples free of charge, requests
for multiple samples must of necessity incur a realistic charge. Please contact
us for further details.
Very occasionally nature will conspire to come up with something completely different
from the norm. One tree in a thousand, for one reason or another, may yield a veneer
that is in appearance nothing like most others of the same species. This may of
course mean that it is unattractive or defective. Conversely it is also possible
that this very unusualness will give it an individual beauty that is not normally
seen. We are not afraid to buy in certain oddities, particularly if they display
uniquely attractive characteristics. Veneers of this type are usually sold as complete
logs rather than being split up between customers. They are therefore ideal for
one-off projects such as a very special interior, a limited range of furniture or
perhaps an exclusive shop or yacht fit-out. Because of their very individuality
these veneers will have a certain exclusiveness and it is very unlikely that a similar
look will be found elsewhere.
Let us know if the idea of using something like this could be of interest and we
shall be pleased to give you further information on any currently available specials.
Our latest featured species is: PLANETREE / LACEWOOD
|Also known as
|| Plane, London Plane, Platane
|| Platanus x acerifolia, Pl. x hispanica, Pl. x hybrida
Most of us are familiar with these majestic trees which can be seen gracing many
of our cities' more elegant squares, avenues and streets, particularly in London
where it is said they account for over 50% of the trees that have been planted in
the last 200 years or so. They are also common in other European capitals and are
synonymous with the tree-lined boulevards of Paris. Their unique bark and tolerance
of the hard pruning that some well-meaning local authorities impose upon them make
them an ideal choice for an urban environment.
All trees "breathe" through pores in their bark and many struggle to flourish in
the more polluted air found where Plane trees grow quite happily. Sections of older
bark that have been exposed over a period to a typical urban atmosphere, flake and
peel away at regular intervals revealling a fresh, clean layer which is paler in
colour, beneath. This accounts for the colourful marbled look that makes the London
Plane so instantly recognizable and means they finds it easier than many other species
to tolerate city life.
The three botanical names for this species all have a relevance, are all used and
all refer to the same tree. Its relatively short history is fascinating and its
origin can only be traced back to around the year 1670. The botanical name Pl. x
hybrida tells us it is in fact a hybrid between two other Platanus species, and
there are various versions of how and where it originated.
The American or Western Plane (Pl. occidentalis) is the largest deciduous tree native
to the USA and is known in America as Buttonwood or, rather confusingly to us in
the UK, Sycamore. We know that this species was introduced into this country some
time earlier but found it difficult to flourish in our colder climate. Another related
species, the Oriental, or Eastern Plane (Pl. orientalis) was brought here reportedly
from Turkey and proved to be somewhat hardier than its western cousin. One story
claims that after the two were planted close to each other in the Oxford Botanic
Gardens, a happy event occurred and the London Plane was born. Other researchers
have written that the hybrid originated in a nursery garden in Lambeth, London.
There is, however, another suggestion that the original cross occurred in Spain
(hence Pl. x hispanica) and the young trees were then brought here, with many authorities
claiming that this is the more likely scenario. Whichever is historically correct,
the resulting tree was found to be more tolerant of the UK climate than either of
It is a large and long lived tree with an open structure, long branches and Maple
like leaves (hence Pl. x acerifolia) which combine to cast a welcome dappled shade
over city workers and visitors alike in the summer. Some examples have a tall trunk
with the first branches appearing at a fair height while others, possibly as a result
of being pollarded at some time, start to branch much lower down. The rather inconspicuous
flowers develop into highly conspicuous fruits which can be seen dangling like baubels
from the branches all though the winter. In spring these will disintegrate releasing
the seeds which in most cases are infertile. Propagation of this species is therefore
normally by cuttings.
The straighter logs will generally be used for conversion into veneer and these
will in most cases be quartered. Quartering exposes the prominent medullary rays
which appear as a pretty fleck figure and give rise to the very appropriate trade
name of Lacewood. Colour can be variable from log to log but is generally a pale
yellowy or pinky brown with the rays a somewhat darker browny red. These rays tend
to vary in appearance along the length of the veneer, being smaller and tighter
in some areas before becoming larger and perhaps more elongated in others. In addition
small pips are commonly apparent at intervals. The most sought after architectural
look is very straight-grained with the rays of a medium size and evenly distributed
along the veneer.
Some smaller logs may be flat sliced to produce crown veneer which resembles Beech,
although the rays, much smaller to the eye than with quartered material, are perhaps
slightly more visible than with flat-cut Beech. It is not uncommon to see examples
of this tree with burr clusters growing along the length of the trunk and even in
some cases a very deformed bole comprising of a complete large burr. Veneer from
these will be carefully produced, generally by peeling rather than flat-slicing.
Planetree burr and cluster veneer is very decorative with the individual burr pips
usually being very small and close together.
Lacewood veneer was commonly seen forty or fifty years ago as a decorative feature
in railway carriages. All varieties of Planetree veneer are used for special furniture,
doors or interior decoration of some kind. Lacewood itself can also look very attractive
when laid horizontally as feature panelling. We know that the oldest London Plane
cannot be more than around 300 odd years of age. As they are not forest trees, it
is most unlikely that any timber or veneer obtained from them will be either FSC
or PEFC certified. It is usually the odd specimen tree or those that have outgrown
their usefulness or might be considered dangerous that are felled. Therefore even
the most green thinking amongst us will surely accept that the splendid veneer this
species gives us can be used with a perfectly clear concience.
Finally, a couple of interesting facts that might just help at the next pub Quiz
- A London Plane is Britain's tallest hardwood tree. There are two particular examples
growing in Dorset, in the grounds of Bryanston School, which have been measured
at between 150 and 160 feet high.
- Under a new system devised to value living trees, a London Plane in Berkeley Square,
London has been valued by the local authority tree officers at £750,000 making
it Britain's most valuable tree. This valuation system, which is being adopted by
every local authority in the country, is based upon a tree's size, health, historical
significance and the number of people living close enough to enjoy its benefits.
QUARTERED PLANETREE (LACEWOOD)