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Veneers, their descriptions and uses in marquetry by Roy Murton

Page 15 of our veneer descriptions brings us up to numbers 169 to 180.
Nine of these veneers are from the Walnut family and - unfortunately for us - several of them are now unavailable to the marquetarian due to conservation issues in force these days.
One of the other veneers is the notoriously difficult to work Wenge. This is a lovely almost black veneer that is quite often a superb ingredient of an award winning marquetry picture - a very unique veneer.
As usual we have another dozen veneers for you to refer to.

So, let us begin this session with veneer number 169 - Walnut Australian:

169/. WALNUT AUSTRALIAN: Endiandra Palmerstonii. Australia. Our example has a rather uniform silvery brown colouring although it can often be found with a brown colour with pinkish streaks. It has a pronounced striped figuring. It is sometimes known as Australian Laurel. This veneer has a medium texture but can be somewhat hard to cut, so you will need to dip your cutting blade in some wax fairly often when working with this veneer. Freak patterned examples can be used for sky and water effects while the standard examples will be useful for borders (especially cross banding) and perhaps tree trunks or distant fields and foregrounds.

170/. WALNUT CHARBONNIER: Juglans Regia. South East Europe and South West & Central Asia. It is a stripy patterned veneer with a dark grey brown colouring. The wood is fine grained and rather darkish. It has been used for hundreds of years in the fine furniture trade - plus it was often used in years gone by for the manufacture of gunstocks.

171/. WALNUT EUROPEAN: Juglans Regia. Europe obviously - and as above. Grey brown colour. Figured European Walnut is crown cut, which means it is tangentially cut from the figured wood, to produce wide and highly figured veneers suitable for two, four and eight piece match patterns. Such patterns are often to be found on high quality bespoke furniture.

172/. WALNUT NEW GUINEA: Dracontomelum Mangiferum. As its name states - it originates from New Guinea. This veneer has a very attractive figuring as you will notice from our example. It is light tan to light brown in colouring and has an interlocked fine grain with a ribbon stripe. Pleasant to work with and easy to cut. Very useful in portrait work - other recommended uses are for depicting fields, borders, cross bandings, mountings & rocks, distant hills and animal subjects.

173/. WALNUT NIGERIAN: Lovoa Klaineana. Africa - Ghana. Also known by the names of Alona, Bibolo, Dibetou, Dubenebiri, Dubinibiri, Embero, Eyan & Timabiri. Very pleasant dark brown colour with an interesting wide reflective stripe effect - very useful and indeed attractive for the purposes of cross banding. The timber is used in boat construction and high quality furniture and cabinet work.

174/. WALNUT PERUVIAN: Juglans Neotropica. Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. A smooth grained veneer with a very dark chocolate colour. It is interesting to note that it is often used for making guitars and has a good reputation for decorative furniture. Although we list four countries of origin for this veneer, mostly it comes from Peru - as its name implies.

175/. WALNUT QUEENSLAND BLUE: Endiandra Palmerstonii. Northern Queensland Australia. Can also be found with the names of Walnut Bean, Australian Walnut and Australian Laurel. Although its name implies it is blue in colour, it is actually a greyish brown in our example. The sapwood is a pinkish brown with dark grey stripes. It has a fine textured straight to wavy grain but it can be difficult to cut and will require plenty of wax for lubrication of your blade. Often used for furniture work due to it being rather decorative.

176/. WALNUT SAPPY (LIGHT): Juglans regia. Europe. It is biscuit to light tan in colour with an irregular grain, it is fine textured, soft and easy to cut. Walnut is a “Jack of all trades” in marquetry and the light sappy walnut in particular makes an excellent veneer for portraiture, floral subjects for leaves, etc. It is also good for wooden subjects, mountains and rocks, distant hills, foregrounds, tree trunks, foliage, bushes, animal subjects and also for use with darker walnuts, where parts of the picture are in sunlight and other parts in shadow. Light sappy walnut burrs are also available, which are often useful for animal subjects, portraiture and to depict foliage, bushes, etc.

177/. WALNUT SATIN: Liquidambar Styraciflua. North America. It is also known as American Sweetgum and Redgum. This is a smooth dark orange veneer. This veneer originates from a very resinous tree from which derives its alternative names. A useful veneer for shadow effects.

178/. WELLINGTONIA: Sequoia Sempervirens. South Western North America. This is a tan coloured veneer with strong parallel lines which is very reminiscent of lined writing paper - rather unique. It could be used for depicting straight panelled walls with good effects.

179/. WENGE: Millentia Laurentii. Central Africa. Perhaps the straightest, closest striped veneer you will ever see and you would think perfect for border mounts, until you try to cut it. It is a devil to cut with a knife, even when you paper both sides, it tends to chip out, splinter and crumble. Despite this tale of woe, it pays to persevere with Wenge, because it really is a lovely chocolate brown striped veneer when polished. If you are cutting a half-timbered house and want something to look like Tudor oak beams, this is it. Glue it with brown paper first before attempting to use it, but then you should do this with almost all difficult woods after glue sizing them.

180/. WILLOW: Sallix spp. Italy. A wonderful "shiny" yellow, silver and light orange veneer with a spectacular wavy mottled figure that has a unique lustrous sheen. Perfect for water and sky effects - very useful for certain "fabric" effects - perhaps satin style material for instance. A unique and very useful veneer for inclusion in your veneer bank or collection.

Seventy five percent of the veneers mentioned on this page are from the Walnut family. Walnut figuring and colouring is generally very attractive and is prized for the bespoke furniture trade.
Unfortunately some of these Walnut veneers are no longer easily available due to conservation constraints.
Wenge is also an interesting veneer that has an impressive very dark colouring - almost bordering on black, but slightly warmer in hue.
Willow when used for light coloured fabrics can, if selected with care, give a very realistic representation of the genuine article. The light reflections play perfectly in such respects with this use of Willow.

Our next dozen veneers begin with number 181 which will be Yew - a very distinguished and ancient veneer that has many useful characteristics.

So, until our next set of veneer descriptions, please enjoy your marquetry.

Best Wishes, Roy.

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