How to Buy Sliced Veneers
Clients of Rice Veneer & Lumber Company have different selection criteria needs and thus, several common questions should be addressed to help purchase veneer that fits their criteria.
What Is the Desired Grain Appearance?
We always start the conversation with whether the veneer needs to be plain sliced, quarter cut, rift cut, or rotary cut.
What Is the Length of Cut?
The next consideration should be about how long the cut length needs to be – this tells us where in our inventory we will start looking for the veneer (i.e., depending on project, door, paneling, cabinets or furniture lengths can differ greatly). We try to match up the cut length with the appropriate log length to avoid waste – of product or your project dollars.
The veneer is priced based on the length of cut it will produce. Logs that produce long clean panel cuts and longer occupy the top 5% or less, the office furniture industry cuts follow at approximately 25%, and the remaining 70% is a mix of character marks and open defects that create a short furniture or component length cut.
What Is the Width of Cut?
We make every effort to find a stock that will produce the desired width so that we can avoid looking at a 20” wide log for an 8” wide cut. There are exceptions to this rule, most notably when a customer is looking for a particular “look” or grain character and the only way to achieve the “look” is to chop up a log to obtain it. This is typically when budgetary considerations are tossed aside in an effort to use the grain character to create a unique pattern in the matching process.
What Is the Grade?
It is our experience that grade is a very subjective thing and it can be a challenge to quantify. One person’s “A” Grade might be another person’s “B” Grade and so on. The Architectural Woodworking Institute (AWI) attempts to address grade issues, however, we find that most customers have a particular “look” in mind for their veneer needs and will create their own grade to suit their design and quality criteria. We work to establish the grade via the inspection of samples and will go through inventory to help find it.
What Is the Price Range?
We often remind customers veneer is a natural wood product and as such, can have many characteristics that may not be desirable – pin knots, insect markings, soil, wind or sunlight exposures (or lack of), etc. All of these and more can influence the color and grain character of the veneer. In the veneer world, generally the longer the cut, the cleaner the cut (“clean” here meaning absence of character marks or open defects), and the percentage of the log that will produce this long cut, influences how the log (veneer) will be priced. The secret to getting a log to yield out well and keeping within an acceptable price range is being able to cut around the open defects and allowing for some natural character marks in the veneer face.
What Is the Quantity Required?
It is important to remember that every tree is different and the likelihood of finding matching logs is almost impossible. Grain character and color can vary within a log and from log to log. In most cases, we try to find the right square footage range for each need, especially in the case where a sequence run of panels is needed.
Learn more about veneer and why it may be a great choice for next project.