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There are large variations in finishes available to compliment the plywood core material. More clinical finishes, such as laminates can be suggested for table tops as they are hard wearing, easy to clean and generally scratch resistant.

Laminates can come in a huge spectrum of colours, thicknesses and textures, the variation is endless. Most are highly capable of being glued on to plywood. They are versatile and can completely change a products overall look. They are waterproof and don’t age or change colour over time.

Veneers are another alternative to the standard plywood finish. They can change the look of a product like the laminate can, sometimes they can be more dramatic, sometimes they can be more subtle. Here is a breakdown of the different types:

Rotary-Cut Veneer is manufactured by advancing a rotating log against a stationary knife. Since this cut follows the log’s annual growth rings, a wide, bold grain pattern is produced. Rotary cut veneer is a cost effective method to obtain remarkable effects from birch, maple and oak. This is how birch plywood is produced.

Plain-Sliced Veneer, also known as Flat Cut or Crown Cut is the most widely used. It is manufactured by advancing a half log against a stationary knife in an up-and-down movement. The resulting cut is characterised by straight grain intermixed with cathedrals, these are the spire like shapes that come from the length in the grain. This method is moderately priced and is available for most wood species.

Half-round Sliced is a variation of rotary cutting. Segments or flitches of the log are mounted off centre on the lathe. This results in a cut slightly across the annular growth rings, and visually shows modified characteristics of both rotary and plain sliced veneer.

Quarter-Sliced Veneer uses the same cutting method as plain-sliced veneer, except the log is cut into quarters prior to slicing. This method bisects annual growth rings and results in a straight grain or ribbon-striped (mahogany) appearance. Due to low yield from the log, this veneer is usually more costly. Walnut, mahogany, oak and teak are most often used with this cut.

A popular veneer for furniture and interior use is Oak. As mentioned above crown cut is the most common type of veneer and used widely, due to lower cost. It also has aesthetic qualities, as it is cut across the centre of the log you can see the natural patterns and grain that make it stand out and create an interesting look.

In theory all Opendesk furniture can be adapted to have laminates and veneers by adjusting the joints to account for the additional material thickness. We encourage exploration and have been known to do it ourselves. If a customer requests a custom finish or laminate we discuss their requirements and maker capabilities. Laminates add additional cost and complexity due to additional material and processes. However they are a great solution for harder wearing applications.