It used to be when someone mentioned a veneer table or desktop, people would cringe. Their mind would be filled with images of a low quality wood inlay top that would start cracking and curling making a quality office desk look like a cheap piece of office furniture that belongs in the trash heap.
But veneer has changed. It is now more affordable and more durable than in days past.
According to H and L Office Furniture, Veneering is the process of taking a base piece of furniture and making it look much more extraordinary by dressing it up with small pieces of decorative wood.
Sometimes, an expensive decorative wood tree is put into a rotary machine and peeled layer by layer making a long sheet of the decorative wood that can be used to cover a table or desk surface. Were a piece of furniture made just of those decorative woods, it would cost fortune.
While cheap veneer products are still on the market, there are some ways to take a closer look at a piece of veneer you are considering and test it for long-lasting quality.
First, do your research. Get online and look up the manufacturers of veneered furniture. Read up on them. Often if you type a manufacturer’s name and the word ‘review’ or ‘complaint’ into a search engine you may well find what other customers have said about their furniture from that manufacturer.
If there are a number of complaints, you may want to avoid that manufacturer and look for one with more favourable ratings. You can also ask around. See what other people you know who have veneered furniture think about the quality of the pieces they have.
Another helpful thing to know is what kind of wood is being used in the piece of office furniture you are considering. While the veneered portion of the wood will be a soft wood that can be carved or cut into designs, if you want a piece of furniture that will last for generations to come, you should make sure it is made of a sturdy solid base wood.
Hardwoods such as cherry, oak, maple, and birch have been able to withstand the test of time.
Closely examine the piece of furniture you are considering. Look at the edges where the veneer is attached to the wood underneath. Is it well sealed and secured or is there already a small fault? If even the edge of a fingernail can get between the layers, that is the first step towards a cracking and curling veneer top.
Move your hands across the surface of the office desk. If the veneer has been applied correctly it should be completely smooth, there will be no bumps or dips.
A bump in the veneer is the sign of air underneath and a weakness where the decorative wood has detached from the table is the beginning of a bigger problem.
Over time more of the veneer surface will separate from the base furniture.
Finally, while veneer is more affordable these days, a good quality veneer product is not going to be cheap. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is, and that furniture may be hiding a weakness.