Friday, June 11, 2010

Veneering part 2

So, we kind of breezed through veneering's history a bit up to about WW II. This appears to be about the time where the current prejudice begins. During WW II veneered furniture started to get something of a bad name for being of rather poor quality. Well, if you think about what was going on at that the time, it kind of makes sense. Where was all of the best wood and other materials being used for at that time? The war effort. And what happened to many of the best craftsmen? They enlisted or were drafted into the military. So furniture makers were left with poor materials to work with and a shortage of people who knew how to build furniture. Not surprisingly, much of the furniture built at the time was of rather poor quality. The furniture makers then tried to cover up the flaws with veneer. You can make something look nice that way, but it doesn't exactly improve the construction. Hence, it fell apart. People figured this out and started to become rather wary of anything that they saw with veneer, figuring that it was being used to make bad furniture look good. And yes, you still see plenty of that to this day. Then they figured out that you can make a plastic or acrylic look like wood. I'm sure we all can think of furniture or a counter top that was done this way. Earlier versions (stuff from about the 70's pops to my mind) is supposed to look like wood, but let's face it. If it really fooled you into thinking it was solid wood, it was time to put the drink down and cut yourself off for the rest of the night. They have improved things some in this sense (Pergo flooring for example is actually made using high quality digital photographs of actual wood), but you can still tell. This technological development really didn't help veneer's reputation.

As always (probably), we have very good examples of veneering and plenty of examples of veneer being used to put lipstick on a pig. So, going forward from here, let's look at some good examples of the craft. Let's talk about the differences between good use of veneer and poor furniture covered up with cheap veneer.

Post comments. Ask questions. Tell me where we need to go from here.

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