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Veneers, their descriptions and uses in marquetry by Roy Murton

Page 14 of these veneers descriptions takes us onto numbers 157 to 168.
We start this page off with another of the Sycamore family - this one is "Light Stainy" or "Light Stained".
You will not find many descriptions of this particular veneer around. It is probably because it is not a very popular veneer any more and it has now rather gone out of fashion - this is a shame because I think it is a very pleasant looking veneer.
Once again I have some of those rare varieties for you in this dozen that I think you will find interesting.

So, let's start this session off with veneer number 157 - Sycamore Light Stainy:

157/. SYCAMORE LIGHT STAINY: Acer Psuedoplatanus. Europe. This is another member of the plentiful Sycamore family. This is a variation on the weathered theme and has a pleasing tan to gold colouring. Very useful for water effects in marquetry pictures. Can be used with success in portraiture work and animal subjects. Also goes under the name of Sycamore Light Stained.

158/. TCHITOLA: Pterygopodium Oxyphyllum. Western Africa. A tan to "milky coffee" brown coloured veneer with strong stripes in mottled and wild patterns. It can give good reflective water effects when selected with care. Mountainous landscapes are subjects that respond well to this veneer.

159/. TIAMA: Entandrophragma Angolense. Gedu Nohor. East & West Africa. This veneer comes from tropical Africa and it is a member of the Mahogany family. It has a pleasant deep bronze coloured grain pattern with a very useful mottled effect. Can be used to good effect in depicting dark coloured clothing.

160/. TULIPWOOD (1): Dalbergia Frutescens. Brazil. This is also known as Pinkwood in the USA. It has a very pronounced pink to red brick colour with strong red stripes or streaks. Very useful for borders and cross banding. When used for cross banding it can have the advantage of seeming to draw your eye into the picture

161/. TULIPWOOD (2): Dalbergia Oliveri. Burma. I also have another name for this veneer in my notes which is Tamalan. This veneer, I think you will find, is one of those veneers that is virtually unobtainable these days due to its being a protected species and subject to export restrictions in its country of origin. Often referred to as Poplar in the USA. This is a darkish brown veneer with, as is our example, a slight fiddleback appearance. A very different looking wood to the more common variety of Tulipwood as described above in veneer number 160.

162/. TEAK: Tectona grandis. Burma, Java, India, Thailand and Vietnam. It is golden to light brown in colour with an interlocked coarse textured grain. A brittle veneer prone to crumbling, it usually needs papering. The quarter cut veneer has a very close striped figure and in certain logs a pale golden veneer with darker chocolate stripes can be found. In this form it is excellent for borders, cross bandings, wooden subjects, planks, roofs, fences, etc. The crown cut hard wood varies from a light brown colour to a golden background with darker brown stripes and of quite wild figure, which makes the veneer suitable in this form for depicting tree trunks, mountains, rock formations, middle distance hills and parts of foregrounds in certain subjects. It is also sometimes found with an attractive lace medullary ray figure.

163/. TREE OF HEAVEN: Ailanthus Grandulosa. Ailanthus Altissima. East Indies and Central China. This wood/veneer is also found with the name of Sumac and the more amazing name of "Stinking Sumac!" this name being due to the unpleasant odour emanating from the tree itself. The freshly cut wood is creamy white to light brown and is rather coarse grained. Our example is somewhat aged and has developed into a warm orange to mid brown colour, thus making it rather more useable for marquetry purposes.

164/. UTILE: Entandrophragma utile. Africa. It is also known as sipe. It is red to dark red with an interlocked grain with a weak stripe and fine texture. It is soft and easy to cut and in plentiful supply in widths up to 12 inches (30cms) and very cheap (that was in 1950!). It could be mistaken by the layman for sapele, although utile is a darker red. It is mostly used as a compensating backing veneer also for edging borders, cross banding, etc. However, it is also most useful for roofs, foregrounds, reflections, shadows, wooden objects, walls, doors, fences, planks, chimneys, pots, etc.

165/. UTILE CROWN CUT: The description for this veneer is the same as UTILE above. The difference with this example is that it has been "crown cut". This means that it is a tangentially cut figured part taken from the original wood stock. Our example is a dark chocolate brown colour with a slight fiddle-back effect to its grain pattern.

166/. VENKAI or VENGIA: Pterocarpus Marsupium. East Indies. According to my notes this veneer is also known by the name of Bijasal. This veneer has a deep dark brown colour fading into a lighter flecked colouring. Could give a useful evening sky effect. This veneer comes from the Indian Kino tree which also goes by the names of Malabar Kino and Benga. The bark of this Indian tree has many medicinal uses.

167/. WALNUT AFRICAN: Lovoa Klaineana & Trichiloides. West Africa. This veneer works in well in borders, especially if it is cross-banded. It has a fine grain and the golden colour provides an attractive stripe effect that is so popular for borders. Parts of the veneer leaf may vary between a golden colour and a darkish brown, and sometimes a black thin stripe may even run through the leaf. These odd markings make this veneer useful for autumnal scenes where golden brown tones figure prominently.

168/. WALNUT BLACK AMERICAN: Juglans Nigra. America. It is important to remember that the word “black” refers to the bark of the tree, so don’t think that this veneer itself is actually black. This purple toned walnut is most useful for distant hills, possibly seen through a haze, distant cliffs, for shadows around window frames, doors, and for almost the same type of effects that you would use dark mansonia, except that this veneer has a walnut figure and marking and may be used in larger pieces where movement in the veneer is required, such as for interesting foreground items in shadow. Generally this is one of those veneers that imparts a receding tone and consequently should be used in the mid or far distance areas of a picture.

This page has included a few "odd" type of veneers that you will not find very plentiful anymore. Of course, a lot of the reason for this is due to export restrictions imposed by various governments on conservation grounds.
The title of veneer number 163 seems to be very contradictory when compared to the description of its parent tree and timber. A tree which goes by the name of Tree of Heaven certainly conjures up a mental picture of a most beautiful tree that would perhaps emit a delightful scent of roses or lavender. To find out that it is known in its native land as Stinking Sumac due to an excruciatingly unpleasant "pong" emanating from the tree itself comes as something of a shock! Still, none the less, it does have a useful veneer that, luckily enough, doesn't seem to retain the aroma of its original tree.

Our next twelve veneers begins with Australian Walnut which will be description number 169.

So, once again until then, please enjoy your marquetry.

Best Wishes, Roy.

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