• Veneered Bespoke Doors: The Art Of Making Them

    By SWD Team

    What types of veneered doors do you offer?

    Veneers come in two main types in our ranges of doors and wardrobes. Natural veneers sourced from trees such as oak and walnut, or manufactured veneered doors, of which Eco Oak and Dark Grey Ash are examples. Whatever type of veneered door you are looking for we will be able to help!

    Natural Veneers

    As the examples below illustrate, natural veneers are  sliced from logs that are crown cut, which is where the logs are cut straight through or quarter cut where the log is literally quartered. The crown cut, which runs through the growth rings in the tree, has more shape and play in the grain.

    This is noticeable in walnut veneer, for example, and can be quite unpredictable. This adds to the distinct beauty of this type of veneer. The quarter cut veneer, has a more uniform grain due to the angle the logs are sliced.

    Example of veneer cuts

    Manufactured veneers

    Manufactured or eco veneers, as the name suggests, are not cut from a tree. They are however still made from sustainable wood which has been bonded together. They are often impregnated with stains or laminated together in different colours to achieve a very realistic substitute which has its own distinct appearance. It is then pressed into a block and sliced to make the veneer.

    The brand leader is an Italian company called Alpi.  Zebrano, for example, tends to be made this way as it is very rare and consequently in short supply. Some of our grey veneers, such as Dark Grey Ash, are also of this type, as it is very difficult to achieve a uniform grey finish from natural woods. The advantage of this type of veneer, illustrated below, is its consistency, which is quite useful in certain designs, e.g. the C25 or C27 where a straight and consistent grain add to the overall aesthetic look of the door.

    Bespoke Doors

    Diamond Grain Veneered Door Grey
    Model C27

    We refer to our bespoke doors being made from the same batch of veneers. Here is an explanation of what that means. The process begins with a log, the diameter of which vary. For crown cut veneer the log is sliced. The widths of the slices can vary from 120-300mm wide and 2 -3 metres in length, depending whether the veneer is cut from the inside or outside of the log. As this type of veneer is factory made, the maximum length rarely exceeds 2.5 m. The veneer is then collected in bundles of 24 leaves, and there can be as many as 10 bundles in a log.

    When our veneered doors are being made in the factory, they will use consecutive veneers from bundles they have in stock. The leaves of veneer are then stitched together to make a wider single piece of veneer. On a vertically grained flush door which is 838mm wide you may need 5-7 leaves of veneer.

    The Aesthetic Method

    The most aesthetic method of stitching the veneered doors is book matched rather than slip matched. Book matching gives a more consistent look to the veneers and disguises the joins, whereas Slip matching highlights the joins. The veneers we use are as standard  0.6mm thick. Veneers can come up to 2.5mm thick but they will be typically five times more expensive for the same look and as the veneer is so thick that the joins are more prone to opening up.

    An example of a crown cut book matched veneer:

    An example of a crown cut book matched veneer

    Example of a quarter cut slip matched finish :

    Quarter Cut Slip Matched Grains

    The manner in which the veneers are used on the doors is carefully considered in our veneering department. We know, that even when dealing with the same bundle of veneers, not every door will come out the same. Within the same log and bundle there is variation throughout the veneer.

    Double Doors

    This is an especially important consideration in the design and manufacture of our double doors. We aim to achieve a degree of continuity where the doors meet. If the door model has stiles, as in the R131, the facing stiles will have similar book matched veneer.  The stiles will have either crown cut or a straighter grain on them which depends upon the percentages of each in the batch. When straight or crown cut veneer is chosen both stiles will have the same  finish which is usually mirrored.

    similar book matched veneer

    In a pair of doubles where the grain runs horizontally, for example the S800 or 1004 model, the veneer is chosen to run across both doors rather than book match or mirror the pair.

    Veneer grain runs horizontally



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