Veneers and Wood Maintenance

Veneers are thin sheets of wood glued to other products to create the look of solid wood...

Some advantages of a veneer finish are that the cost is lowered significantly since you are not actually paying for a solid exotic hardwood piece, but rather a less expensive soft wood or plywood veneered in an expensive wood. This will also not put such a strain on the low supply of these rare woods. Sometimes, it seems that veneers are seen as a "cheaper" version of real, solid wood but this is not the case. In most cases, the veneers are more durable than solid wood pieces because technology has progressed so much as to improve the adhesives and cutting of the veneers.

Veneers are cut from the main stem of the tree in between the root and the first branch. The bark is removed and the wood is checked for deformities and foreign matter. Then the log is softened by immersion in hot water or by a steaming process. The whole log may be treated or cut into pieces, then treated. The length of this conditioning process is determined by the type and hardness of the veneer to be produced.

Many people are afraid to damage wood products when cleaning, but in reality, it takes a lot to really damage a wood's finish. Most finishes are covered in a varnish 1/50- 1/30 of an inch thick. This varnish is like plastic and very tough. There are only a few points to remember when maintaining any wood surface:

  • No harsh chemicals. These will strip away finishes, eat through wood, or cause veneers to ripple and warp.
  • Don't be afraid! If abrasions are apparent, simply rub away with steel wool and re-finish the area.
  • Shellac stick patching and wax stick patching are useful techniques for repairing large gouges or burns in a wood surface.
  • Water WILL damage any wood. Even if a topcoat and a sealer have been applied, this does not guarantee full damage protection.
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