A client is interested in having some beside drawers made for them. They have several vintage pieces by local mid-century maker Gerald Easden and are looking for some drawers in a similar style to the the Easden pieces. Making the drawers is fairly straightforward, the challenge is in finding the right veneer, more specifically teak (Tectona grandis).
Whilst teak comes from a few different asian countries, the teak associated with mid-century furniture was sourced mostly from Burma (now Myanmar). The problem with using Teak veneer and timber today is that from being excessively logged in the past it is now rather expensive, coupled with the amount of illegal logging today, the provenance of some timber/veneer can be a little iffy. I know some local sources of Teak will claim FSC certification however I'm a little skeptical of this, being told by one supplier that they could source any timber with ceritification, whether it was actually certified or not.
So what options are there? There has been some interesting development of manufactured veneer, although its been around for some time its only recently been a viable alternative, both from a visual and price perspective.
On to the sampling then...
Real teak veneer, quarter sawn on the left... Finewood Ventech manufactured teak on the right
Some makeshift veneer cauls, lined with clear tape to prevent the veneer from sticking.
Glue on the mdf substrate, awaiting veneer and clamps
Sample all clamped up
Sample now out of clamps, cut down the middle and flipped so you can compare the two, manufactured teak on the left, real teak on the right
... sanded and oiled
Not bad but might do a little more investigating into manufactured teak veneer options.
To be continued.