from “Rovings,” Professional BoatBuilder No. 153
Compiled by Dan Spurr
In the age of one-stop-shop multi-product and service businesses, it’s sometimes nice to deal with a company that does just one thing, and does it well. This can be said of the Michigan-based Oakwood Veneer Company, which stocks more than 320 species of wood veneer—the most in the U.S., it says. Peter Rodgers, who worked as a cabinet refinisher in the 1970s, founded the company with a keen sense of what woodworkers need.
With such a vast stock of woods, you might expect some pretty exotic choices, and there are: robel burl (Itex divaricata) veneer at $17.99 per sq ft, 7⁄8″ (22mm); Anigre (Aningeria) edge-banding pre-glued and available in 100′ ($49.90), 250′, and 500′ rolls (30m, 76m, and 152m); and khaya (Khaya ivorensis), an alternative to South American mahogany “when a dark stain is to be used,” at $1.49 per sq ft.
Most veneers are available in 4′ x 8′ (1.2m x 2.4m) and 5′ x 12′ (1.5m x 3.7m) sheets; custom orders are welcomed as a challenge. Various backings are available. Markets have expanded considerably from cabinet refacing and include architectural panels, marine and aircraft interiors, and furniture making.
The company website has many pages of tips and how-to videos, and, in an effort to assist woodworkers who choose to glue their own veneers to a substrate, Oakwood Veneer Co. now offers a free booklet titled “Veneer Applications Tips.” It’s available as a PDF download or in print. A couple of tips gleaned from the booklet: Choose a contact cement with the highest amount of solids; MDF (medium density fiberboard) is the most stable substrate; and prior to gluing, allow the veneer and substrate to “climatize” in the same environment for 48 hours.
In a recent development, gluing can be avoided altogether with the company’s introduction of pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) or so-called peel-and-stick veneers. “We’ve had around 20 peel-and-stick veneer species in stock for same-day shipping for a while now,” said Peter Rodgers, in a press release. “But now, any of our 300-plus veneer species that are available as a 4‘ x 8‘ or 4‘ x 10‘ [1.2m x 3m], or even as a cross-grain 8′ x 4′ or 10′ x 4′, can be ordered as a PSA veneer with only a couple days of waiting before shipment.” The selection includes numerous exotic woods such as figured eucalyptus and bird’s-eye maple.
Oakwood Veneer Co., 1830 Stephen-son Hwy., Troy, Michigan 48083 USA, tel. 800–426–6018, website www.oakwoodveneer.com.