Decorative wood veneers go through fashionable stages just like any interior design craze. Right now we’re seeing great demand for American oak, in a quarter cut finish.
American oak is not as commonly used as European Oak. If you see ‘darker’ or ‘dark’ oak, or ‘aged’ oak then this will usually be American oak. However, the colour range is actually quite broad, so you may well see anything from pale biscuit hues upwards.
American white oak logs are usually smaller in diameter than European oak and there are a number of more unusual species, which makes it a more sought after wood for furniture and interiors. It’s the lighter shades that are most popular. American red oak grows faster and bigger than its white oak sibling and gives a more open grained texture.
American oak is popular at the moment for all sorts of furniture and also doors. It’s also a fashionable choice for shop fit-outs and other commercial interiors.
The natural wood veneer cut that’s proving all the rage right now is quarter cut, otherwise known as quarter sawn. This involves cutting across the tree’s growth rings, resulting in a nice straight and even grain effect. This cut also results in greater stability with less likelihood of warping.
Quarter cut oak decorative wood veneers often display an attractive pattern of what are known as ‘medullary rays’. These are delicate ribbon-like patterns that run across the straight grain. These medullary rays grow radially, so quarter cutting brings out their full beauty, rather than flat cutting that cuts across them.
This cutting method, together with the natural beauty of the wood, has made American oak particularly desirable as a natural wood veneer for furniture and decorative panels.