Before a project begins construction, the materials need to be purchased.
I tend to think of timber selection as being at least a three–stage process;
• Once suitable suppliers of selected woods have been selected, Roland will personally select the required timber from the timber merchant.
• Back in the workshop, time needs to be taken to consider the best way to saw the boards to achieve pieces suitable for the current project.
• Once sawn, the timber can be planed. It is now that you really get to see the detail of the grain, allowing a final selection to be made.
Most people who are not furniture makers (and some who are) take the view that furniture made using veneers is inferior to that made from solid wood. It is easy to see why this is the case given that recent decades have seen the majority of high-street furniture mass produced in veneered chipboard. These manufacturers will seek a very uniform wood that they will treat almost as if it is a homogeneous material, but it does not have to be like that
It is worth bearing in mind that for most of the history of furniture, veneers have been used only on the very best quality furniture. Britain’s most famous cabinet maker, Thomas Chippendale certainly used them extensively and they could even be found on some items that were sent off to the afterlife with the Pharaohs.
You will also see that most of the best furniture makers of today use them widely. The most significant reason for this is because they know it is the only way they can combine the most beautiful timbers with the stability of modern sheet materials. They also allow a range of interesting techniques that are impossible in solid wood.
I will use veneers where appropriate, but I will still be selecting them individually to accentuate the beauty of the wood, and arranging them to compliment each other, just as I do for solid timber.