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Antique Veneer Restoration & Conservation
The Production of Veneer Furniture
Veneer has been used in the production of furniture as long ago as 3000 BC, but did not readily appear in England until around the middle of the sixteenth century, and was mainly found in Oak furniture originating from Lancashire and Yorkshire. This was in the form of geometric shapes usually hand sawn from Holly or Sycamore, or darker woods such as Bog Oak and Walnut. Natural stains were also used to colour woods with red, yellow and green.
Veneer is made from very thin slices of wood, sometimes bark. Which is obtained a process called “peeling” the trunk of a tree or by slicing large rectangular blocks of wood. This is then glued to a wooden substrate and used to produce veneer furniture.
When veneers are made from small pieces of wood, cut from the same larger piece of wood, then installed on the furniture so that their grain runs in opposite directions in a geometric pattern, it is called parquetry. The process of marquetry involves the creation of an image or a picture in wood. Veneering allows the use of beautiful woods, that because of any number of reasons, such as limited availability, cannot be used in its solid form for making furniture.
Our Antique Veneer Restoration Process
Wood veneer is a surface that can be easily damaged. The delicate surface means it can be prone to scratching or gouging, or moisture can seep underneath the veneer and loosen the top layer, causing bubbles to appear or the veneer to peel. When veneer furniture is damaged, you should seek the help of a restorer, you cannot simply sand away the scratches yourself. Clive Payne is a member of the British Antique Furniture Restorers’ Association and can help.
At Clive Payne, we source as much reclaimed veneer as possible to conserve items of furniture that are missing areas of veneer lost over time. Loose veneers are carefully lifted the old scotch glue is removed then it is re-laid using fresh Scotch glue, (sometimes referred to as hoof glue or animal glue).
To discuss any aspect of an item of antique veneered furniture that you might wish to conserve or restore please do not hesitate to contact me. All restoration work is done entirely by hand using traditional techniques.