Blog

Wood Veneer; Not just for Building Interiors

18/06/2019

We have said it here before that veneer is without question an excellent product in so many ways. Not only is it cost effective, it makes interiors stylish and high-end, adding significantly to the value. And it’s not just cars; aircraft, and marine manufacturers often pick wood veneer as their top choice for making their interiors unique and visually stunning. A refined finish enables veneer products to be used in the most stunning interiors, from stylish superyachts to commercial or private aircrafts.

Skilled artisans take great in selecting exotic wood to ensure they build luxury aircraft interiors of the highest quality and they employ the latest technologies for precision cut in-lays and selection of rare, exotic veneer species. However not all species; make the cut! Strict regulations in the aviation industry mean that many beautiful woods can unfortunately not be used on board aircraft.  However, it is possible to use ultra-thin veneer (0.2 mm thick) between glass sheets to ensure that it can withstand fire and other important tests and some designers go to these lengths to ensure they can use their desired species.

With so much fiberglass and plastic in today’s cars, it’s easy to forget that car interiors once featured elaborate woodwork. The use of hardwood veneer as interior automobile decor has always signalled elegance and luxury. For Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguar, wood veneer interior and dash trim distinguished these cars from their American counterparts.

The prominence of wood veneer in cars was such that in the 1970’s, auto upholstery specialists (or auto trimmers as thy are known as in the US) required carpentry skills in order to build, fix or customize vehicle interiors. But as car manufacturers sought to make their cars more affordable, the use of wood practically disappeared and it was replaced by plastic parts designed to look like wood. This was due to the fact that, not only was the process involved expensive, it was also labour intensive. Thankfully due to advances in veneer and adhesive technology, the use of real wood veneer in cars (albeit in luxury brands like Bentley) is very much alive.

For decades companies, including some of Merenda’s customers have been manufacturing custom veneer faces, flexible veneer and veneer laminates to fit almost any application including in the use of car manufacturing, aircraft and luxury yacht fitout.

Bentley usually uses burr veneers for their interiors as they are more malleable around compound curves. While walnut burl is the most common veneer used for automobile dashboard kits, there are many other species including exotics and dyed veneers which can be used.
Veneer is incorporated in the design of dashboard pieces, instrument trim, console faces, door waist rails and we also see the use of cross-banding and inlays on other fascia’s and fittings throughout these luxury vehicles. We may be biased but we think these interiors are completely elegant and simply timeless.



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