Natural Veneers vs Reconstituted Veneers- What is the Difference?
Veneers are becoming a popular surfacing material for decor, whether you use it for your home or office decor. They make everything eye-catching and beautiful. Broadly speaking, two types of veneers are available in the market: natural veneers and reconstituted veneers.
What are natural veneers?
Natural veneer is a unique material sliced from logs (tree trunks) that is influenced by an individual tree’s reaction to its soil composition, geographic location and other growing conditions throughout the duration of its growth. The intrinsic patterns and markings in natural veneers aren’t altered or enhanced in any way, making each natural veneer from a tree an individual work of art.
Compared to engineered veneer sheets, natural wood veneers demand superior production technology. Overall, natural veneer sheets are considered more premium and valuable.
What are reconstituted veneers?
This product is made from a common wood called “Poplar or Ayous“. This type of wood falls under the fast growing plantation tree category. The wooden beam is of a single colour and needs treatment to create the grain patterns and colour which we see in the final product. These are systematically dyed to mimic the look of their real wood counterparts. The beauty of this type of veneer is its outstanding colour and grain consistency from sheet to sheet.
The name of our range of Recon Veneer is ‘Senzura Styles’ and we have 105 (Vertical) designs in this range in the current catalogue. All the designs can be made-to-order in Horizontal pattern.
Let us understand how natural veneers are different from reconstituted wood veneers
Natural veneers vs. reconstituted veneers
The manufacturing process of Natural Veneers
Veneers are one of the best things that can be made from wood. From picking the right logs to having the veneers decorating your space, there are so many intricate processes involved in making the veneers.
The wood has to go through varying processes that extract the hidden beauty of it. Today we list down the simple processes that wood has to go through before becoming a piece of art.
- Preparing the logs
The wooden logs need to be cut in a very specific way. Every log has to be cut in a way that enhances the grain on the final veneers.
After filches are made, they are steamed in boiling vats, which softens them for slicing. This process can also bring out the colour of the wood.
After the wood is softened, filches are sent to slicers which slices them into veneer leaves.
The sliced veneer leaves need to have the excess moisture removed from them, for which they are sent to the special dryers.
- Edge cutting/Clipping
The sliced veneers are not in proper shape. The leaves are then sent to the clipper with cuts off the edges to bring parallel edges to the veneers.
- Splicing and End Tapping
The leaves are then stitched together seamlessly to produce standard sizes and then end tapped for pressing.
The leaves are then pressed on pre-glued substrates to create veneer panels.
- Sanding and Finishing
Before the veneers are packed, they are sent to sanding areas where they are given the decorative finishing.
The manufacturing process of Reconstituted Veneer
Recon veneers are obtained by slicing thin sheets from fast-growing plantation trees. These slices are then dyed, dried, and glued together into blocks of 8’ x 2’ (approx.). These blocks are then re-sliced and re-glued based on the design preference for the final product.
The process followed in our factory is as follows:
->The wooden beam which arrive in our factory is already shaped into 8’ x 2’ dimension (approx.)
->These wooden beams are then put in a VAT container and boiled for a few days (depending on the design, the temperature & duration varies) to soften the beam.
->The wooden beam is then sliced into thin sheets ranging from 0.20mm – 0.35mm.
->The sliced sheet, also called a flitch, is then dried to reduce the moisture content which ranges between 8% – 12%.
->Once dried, we use a method, which is known as ‘Book Binding’ to join the 8’ x 2’ sheets to make it into a seamless 8’ x 4’ sheet.
->Once the sheet is in 8’ x 4’ dimension, we create an assembly pack which consists of the base (Hardwood or Gurjan – depending on a customer’s requirement) + Glue + Veneer Flitch.
->The assembly pack is then inserted into a Hot Press at a certain temperature/pressure/time.
->Once the sheet is out of the Hot Press, the edges are cut and shaved to give a smooth and impeccable finish to the product.
->Post edge cutting, it is sanded on the top surface to ensure th-e veneer surface is absolutely smooth and ensures it is ready for polishing (you will come across a few contractors who would still like to give it an extra layer of sanding).
->Quality check is done to ensure there are no gaps/overlays/cracks anywhere on the sheet and kept aside for ambient conditioning for 2-3 days. Any defect would immediately result in material rejection.
->Finally, material is ready for packing and dispatch.
After finishing up, the veneers are ready to decorate your space for years to come.
On the other hand, recon veneers are obtained by slicing thin sheets from fast-growing and renewable species of trees. These slices are then dyed in vats, dried, and glued together into blocks of various shapes. These blocks are then re-sliced and re-glued based on the design preferences for the final product.
Production cost of reconstituted wood veneers sheets is lower than natural veneers, since it is cheaper to slice sheets from growing trees and gluing them to form a block where pattern and colour can be changed from slab to slab. Reconstituted veneers lead to less wastage and are more cost efficient. Natural wood veneers demand superior production technology and thus, are quite expensive.
The difference in designs
Natural veneers are distinct and even if slices are obtained from the same tree, they will differ in terms of pattern. Therefore, you can have different natural patterns in every veneer sheet produced.
As reconstituted veneers are man made, the designs are not unique and can be replicated in large quantities.
To sum up
Take a look at both natural and reconstituted veneers and weigh their pros and cons before deciding which is the best option for you but make sure to buy it from a reputable brand. Not affected by wrapping, splits and seasonal weather effects, veneers are the best choice when it comes to getting creative with construction projects.
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