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Veneer vs Solid wood
Article by Julien Sauvage

We are often confronted with the matter of whether furniture made of solid wood will be more resistant to damage than that built from particle board or MDF plywood with veneer. However, contrary to popular belief, structures made out of solid wood are not necessarily synonymous with high quality or durability.

The first thing to consider when comparing these two materials is to view the piece of solid wood under a microscope. Here, you will see that it is in fact made up of tiny, empty slivers. When these slivers are exposed to high ambient humidity, they quickly absorb moisture, which makes the material bulge and expand. This happens mainly along the width but also along the thickness and the wood becomes warped as a result. The wider the board, the more it expands. However, when exposed to dry air, boards contract and shrink, which means that they don’t necessarily return to their prior state. We can therefore imagine that over the years, variations in ambient humidity from season to season make solid wood crack and warp, leading to the need for repairs even if it has withstood the test of time.

Depending on the wear to which the furniture will be exposed, a combination of veneer and solid wood often constitutes the ideal solution that results in the best quality and durability.

Most decorative veneer wood is cut from logs of solid wood (tree). Veneer used to manufacture non-decorative products is made by rotary cutting a log of solid wood. The thickness of veneer is normally between 1/40 and 1/50 of an inch, which makes it vulnerable to damage if a coat of protective finishing is not applied.

There are several advantages to using veneer wood: first, since wood of various dimensions is used, it is less vulnerable to variations in ambient humidity. Another advantage is control over wood staining. When working with a piece of solid wood, it’s impossible to know what’s inside or on the back of the board. Even if we try to make the best selection possible, it can always have strong variations in staining in certain areas. Another advantage is the vast selection of veneers on the market, including native North American woods (oak, maple, walnut and cherry), to exotic varieties including Macassar ebony or Santos rosewood. The availability and exorbitant cost of several exotic solid-wood essences make them impossible to use for certain projects.

In addition to providing structural stability to furniture, veneer is much more eco-friendly as it contributes to saving millions of threatened species of trees.

We invite you to consult with our team of experienced professionals from the earliest stages of your upcoming projects. They will listen to your needs and desires to help you bring your project to life, while ensuring a superior standard of quality and durability.