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Veneers, their descriptions and uses in marquetry by Roy Murton

Page twelve of our veneer descriptions brings us up from numbers 133 on to number 144 which, in their specie' range from Purpleheart to Rosewood Tulip.
As, so often seems usual these days, many of the veneers mentioned here are no longer available commercially, but none the less, you could be lucky and chance upon a few samples of those veneers, in which case do yourself a favour and add them to your veneer bank.
Let's start then on the first of this twelve veneers - number 133 Purpleheart:

133/. PURPLEHEART: Peltogyne, spp. Central American veneer. It is also known as Amaranthe, violet-wood, sucupira. It has a purple hue, with an interlocked grain and a weak striped figure. It is fine textured and very hard and brittle to cut. This is a rare veneer obtainable in widths up to about 12 inches (30cms) and is expensive. Mostly used to depict costume and drapery, distant hills, roofs, walls, doors and in floral subjects. Purple heart is one veneer that must be used with restraint. It tends to dominate a picture if used in large areas but quickly fades when exposed to sunlight to a purplish brown. An important point to watch out for with this veneer is that it’s colour will leach out into light veneers placed next to it, I find it a good idea to sanding sealer this veneer before doing much else with it (its just a touch of insurance really)

134/. RAMIN: Gonystylus Macrophyllum. This veneer originates from Malaysia. Can also be known as Sarawak and Melawis. This is a yellowish coloured straight grained veneer. It is commonly used for the purposes of picture frame manufacture due to it's resistance to warping.

135/. RHUS: Rhus Typhina. Canada. A copper to bronze coloured veneer with interesting dual coloured stripes of wavy grey overlaid with smoothly curving brown stripes. Rather unique.

136/. ROBINA: Robinia Pseudoacacia. A veneer of European origin. Straw coloured and fine grained. Unfortunately I have no other information regarding this veneer in my notes, perhaps Dear Reader if you have some knowledge of this veneer you may like to get in touch and help us to update our database - for which we would be immensely obliged.

137/. ROSEWOOD BOMBAY: Dalbergia Latifolia. India. It is also known as Malobar, Bombay rosewood. This veneer is purple brown in colour, straight grained, fine textured and fairly easy to cut, although it may be brittle and require papering. It is available chiefly in quarter cut, which reveals a very close stripe and when purchased in crown cut form, has a most attractive marble hardwood figure. The quarter-cut veneers are ideal for borders, cross-bandings and depicting fences, planking, roofing and wooden subjects generally. The crown cut veneers are sometimes suitable for water effects, night skies and costume and drapery.

138/. ROSEWOOD MADAGASCAR: Dalbergia Greveana. Madagascar. It is also known as French rosewood. It is somewhat pink in colour with red stripes, wavy grain, a very close striped figure, medium texture and of normal hardness and cutting potential. It is difficult to obtain and is rarely available over 8 inches (20cms) in width and is very expensive. It is mostly useable for borders, cross bandings, and to depict roofs, fencing, planks, etc.

139/. ROSEWOOD PALLISANDER: Dalbergia Nigra. South America. Brazil. Can also be known as Cabiuna. This rare and beautiful veneer is best seen in the whole veneer leaf, and is used extensively for panelling in and in high class cabinet making. Four consecutive leaves of Rio Rosewood, when made into a matched panel, is probably the most strikingly effective of any veneer. Its use in marquetry, by use of its striking nature, is limited to foregrounds, rock formations and turbulent water effects. If you build a selection of various pieces of Rio Rosewood you may find along the darker streaks of the figure parts you can depict the roundness of tree trunks, complete with shading.

140/. ROSEWOOD RIO: Dalbergia Nigra. South America. Brazil. This veneer is also known as Pallisander and it's description is the same as veneer number 139. The piece of this veneer you will find in our pictorial veneer gallery is a very dark reddish brown colour with smooth black stripes.

141/. ROSEWOOD RIO (2): Dalbergia Nigra. South America. Brazil. This veneer is also known as Pallisander and it's description is the same as veneer numbers 139 & 140. The piece of this veneer you will find in our pictorial veneer gallery is a bronze coloured example with distinctive wavy black lines.

142/. ROSEWOOD SAN DOMINGAN (or sometimes DOMINICAN): Dalbergia Grenadillo. (or Cordia Spp) Originates from Central America/San Dominica. This veneer can also be found as Grenadillo. This is a crown cut veneer with extremely attractive figuring and a colour range which varies from a light sandy colour through reddish brown to a violet brown. Can be found in widths of 6 to 16 inches (15 to 40 cms approx)

143/. ROSEWOOD SANTOS: Dalbergia Spp. South American veneer. An orange brown veneer with a dark brown figuring. Can be used in place of Rosewood Rio if wished.

144/. ROSEWOOD TULIP: Dalgeregia Variabilis (or Dalbergia Frutescens). Brazil. Also known as Pinkwood in USA. Often used for cross-banding in marquetry picture "mounts". This very pleasant veneer has red rose stripes on a yellowish background. It is a hard and fairly brittle veneer for cutting, so the best recommendation is to use gummed tape on the veneer and to lubricate your cutting blade well with wax.

As you will note, we have included eight examples of Rosewood in this pages' descriptions of veneers. The Rosewood family are generally a very attractive veneer variety which is highly praised for its use in cabinet and furniture work. The figuring is often strikingly distinctive and consequently very useful for we marquetarians inasmuch as it can virtually almost make a picture on its own!
Our next twelve veneers will begin with veneer number 145 which will be Sandalwood.
So, until then, as always, please enjoy your marquetry.

Best Wishes, Roy.

Veneer Gallery 1 | Gallery 2 | Gallery 3 | Gallery 4 | Gallery 5 | Gallery 6 | Gallery 7 | Gallery 8

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