The Difference Between Veneer, Laminate & Solid Wood
When describing the furniture from our shop on our website, we try to remember to tell you, if we can, about the kind of wood that was used to make the piece, as well as a bit of information about the finish. We are often asked whether a particular piece is made with veneer, laminate, or if it is solid wood, and we have found that there are often misconceptions about the differences. Today, we will try to help to define and explain the practical applications of the three.
Veneer is technically a thin layer of hardwood, usually thinner than 1/8 of an inch. Typically, veneer is bonded, or glued with adhesive, to a cheaper surface that is hidden below. A less expensive wood or particle board can often be found underneath. This practice allows furniture makers to design and build beautiful pieces at a lower cost. At Furnish Green, we often find a lot of mid century pieces with dark walnut veneer and Danish modern pieces with teak veneer. Veneer can be sanded along the grain, painted and stained because it is real wood. When working with it though, you must be very careful not to overdo it, remembering that the layer is very thin and can quickly be worn down with a power sander.
Laminate is made with synthetic materials or very thinly sliced pieces of wood. In some cases, it is made to look like wood grain by using a method that is similar to printing. Laminate typically has a shiny finish and is known for being used in low-end furniture and pieces that need very durable surfaces. Of course, laminate is much cheaper than solid wood or veneer to produce and use. At Furnish Green, we try to stay away from carrying many pieces with laminate, but occasionally find a server or console that we think looks great and fits the bill. Laminate pieces are incredibly easy to clean and maintain, great for children’s rooms or any spot where it will get a lot of wear. Although it is not real wood, laminate can be painted by sanding the piece lightly to remove the glossy finish, primed, and then painted with thin layers of your favorite color.
Solid Wood is, well, solid wood. Furniture made with solid wood can be sanded, stained, varnished, treated and painted. Some woods are soft and show wear, such as worn corners and edges, after many years of use. Others are called hardwoods and have a more durable lifespan. Here in our store, we love the look of solid wood pieces, often finding them as rustic, farm style tables, bookshelves and cabinets.
So, next time you are perusing our just-in section, take note of our titles and descriptions to learn a bit more about the piece and the materials that were used to create it. Whether its veneer, laminate or solid wood, we will continue to strive to bring you the nicest, most intersting furniture we can find!
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