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Veneers, their descriptions and uses in marquetry by Roy Murton

In this next twelve veneers we go from M in the alphabet to O. Surprisingly there doesn't seem to be any veneers that begin with the letter N that I can think of, or indeed, find in any of the listings. If any readers of this page can think of any veneers that begin with the letter N, would they let me know by sending an e-mail to our editorial team (just click on the e-mail tab on our "contact us" page and fill in the e-mail form that will appear). You will find that there are quite a few "oaks" mentioned on this page. It's surprising how many variations of oak there are.
This page will take you from veneers number 97 up to number 108. As usual the pictures of the veneers them selves will appear in the veneer galleries as thumbnail pictures for you to click on in order to see full size. Our first veneer description for this page is Muninga, so lets go:

97/. MUNINGA: Pterocarpus Angolensis. This veneer comes from South Africa. It is also known as Kajat. This is a smooth cutting coffee coloured veneer. It could be used for giving a good representation of animal fur and other similar textural effects.

98/. OAK: Quercus-Robur & Petraea. A European veneer. Also known as English Oak. The difference between plain oak and figured oak is that it simply means that when the log is cut radially, quarter cut, you get a strong splash figure or ray across the veneer leaf, and in fact this is desired for furniture work. When crown or flat sliced, oak produced a dull flat appearance with little or no figure discernable. This is not a bad idea for marquetry, as the large ray figured type is difficult to use in a picture without spoiling the perspective, whereas plain oak gives you the right tone and texture without the big figure. It’s useful but not an exciting wood, used mostly in conjunction with brown oak for light and shade of wooden subjects.

99/. OAK AMERICAN WHITE: Quercus Alba. As you would suspect, this veneer originates in America. This veneer has a very pleasant light golden - orange colouring. It is a little tricky to cut, so ensure that you lubricate your cutting blade well by dipping the tip of the blade in a piece of wax. This veneer has an interesting look reminiscent of rain in the sky.

100/. OAK BOG: Quercus-Robur & Petraea. A European veneer. It is dark brown to black in colour. This straight-grained veneer of very close stripe with medullary ray figure is coarse in texture, reasonably hard and crumbles when cut. It is very rare, comes in widths up to 9 inches (22.75cms) and is now expensive. This veneer is sometimes found in the peat bogs of Ireland and is claimed to be thousands of years old. It is almost half way to becoming coal! It is ideal in portraiture and for depicting wooden subjects, tree trunks, fences, planks, mid distance fields, mountains and rocks, roads and pathways, foregrounds and animal subjects. It is obviously the ideal veneer for use with figured oak veneer to depict shadows and when it is available is snapped up to include in your veneer collection.

101/. OAK QUARTER CUT: Quercus-Robur & Petraea. A European veneer. Another golden to orange coloured veneer with, what looks like, two grain patterns crossing each other at between 60 to 90 degree angles. This veneer could provide some very useful effects if used with care. (Apologies for the misspelling of the name for this veneer in the veneer gallery - I'm afraid that one of the r's went 'walk about' from the word "quarter")

102/. OAK BROWN: Quercus-Robur & Petraea. A European veneer. Standard Oak is a light hard veneer, with a distinctive fleck and grain. Brown Oak however, is Oak that has weathered naturally into a rich deep brown colour, with the ray figure still present. Useful for representing walls, thatch, small mid-distance mounds, and parts of tree trunks etc, etc,

103/. OAK RED: Quercus Rubra. This is a North American veneer. It has a very useful deep pink to red colour with a pleasant wavy grain effect. You could use this veneer to show an evening sunset being reflected in rippled water, such as, slowly flowing rivers.

104/. AUSTRALIAN SILKY OAK: Cardwellia Sublimis. As its name suggests, this veneer comes from Australia. This veneer is generally cut a little thicker than the normal veneers. Take care when sanding this veneer as you could rub through the softer surrounding veneers in your picture. It has a most striking medullary ray figure, which can vary from small round dots to elongated rays. The smaller fleck figure is probably the most useful for marquetry, and is often used in conjunction with Lacewood as its complementary shadow effect and also with English Oak veneer. Mostly of value to depict rock formations and stony foregrounds, cobbled roads and pathways and parts of rocky mountain sides.

105/. OBECHE: Triplochiton Scleroxylon. A West African veneer. A most under rated wood. This specie is almost sneered at and despised by many people because it is so cheap it is used for under veneering and backing. Never mind, the fact that Obeche is a most attractive veneer, and when quarter cur produces an appealing striped figure. It is soft and easy to cut, and far cheaper to use for window wasters than sycamore. It makes a good border veneer too. It is also useful for floral subjects, sunny Mediterranean scenes, and wherever a yellow tone is required to brighten a scene.

106/. OBECHE BLUE STAINED: Triplochiton Scleroxylon. Another West African veneer. This is an almost "dirty looking" version of normal Obeche. It could be used successfully for a receding foreground effect.

107/. OKWEN: Brachystegia Spicaeformis. This veneer comes from Nigeria. It has a yellowish tanned colouring with wide light and dark stripy areas. It could be used to good effect to depict buildings in the background of pictures if selected with care.

108/. OLIVE SPANISH: Olea Europa. A South European veneer. A strong colouring and grain pattern similar to that well known veneer Zebrano, but this veneer differs in that it has much wider stripes. It would make very good tiger fur in those sort of pictures.

In this twelve veneers I have included a fair sprinkling of Oak veneers. It is quite surprising to find so many variations of Oak, one, in particular is important to bring to your attention and that is the Bog Oak. This variety of Oak is generally found in Peat Bogs and is extremely old and is also "as black as coal". Due to it's fossilised nature this Bog Oak is extremely difficult to cut, in fact you may find that you need to use a piercing saw when you cut some examples of this veneer. Due to the restrictions involved with Peat digging these days you may well find it difficult to locate Bog Oak veneers from your usual stockists, so if you do manage to locate some samples of this veneer, add some to your veneer bank, it will be worth it.
Our next update to these pages will start with number 109 which will be "Olive - East African" and will be moving on through the "Padauk" family of veneers (which I think you will find interesting, especially with regards to Health and Safety issues and the inhalation of sanding dust. I would recommend you to read the Health & Safety page which you'll find on our Tutorials page, before the next update of these veneer descriptions pages)
As I always say, enjoy your veneers and especially, enjoy your marquetry!

And once again, thanks for your interest in these pages, Roy.

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

 Veneer Descriptions 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17