What is the difference between veneer and solid wood?

The most noticeable differences between veneer and solid wood are:

  • Thickness and width
  • Uniformity
  • Weight
  • Resilience
  • Price

You can't say that one type of wood is better than the other one. It's two different ways of using wood - and I'll try to explain the dfirerences and tell you what to note, no matter if you're going for solid wood or veneer.

Thickness and width of veneer and solid wood

The most noticeable difference is the thickness of the wood. Veneer can be cut in very thin slices of under 1 mm and up to a max of 10-15 mm. The thickness depends on which kind of wood being used.

Solid wood is typically thicker - from 10 mm an up. With solid wood you would want a block to 'work with' for engraving and cutting out.

For the wooden wall clocks you can buy here at PureTime, I've chosen to use solid wood, because I want to be able to both cut and engrave into the wood to add depth, shadows and somethiing organic that I don't you can get when working with veneer.

Vesper - wooden wall clock

Pictured: Vesper - wooden wall clock

When it comes to wall clocks in veneer you are typically restricted to only paint or mark details on the dial.

Practically speaking, veneer is cut out/sliced out of the 'inside' of a log - either vertically or horizontally.

Cutting vertically will give a very uniform result, as you're cutting through the 'same line' down through the wood. If you cut horizontally, you will get the differences of the log width and a more mixed structural impression.

Veneer is often used to put on top of other wood types to give a more exclusive look, but it can also be used as standalone product.

The width of solid wood is typically limited of the log width and the primary cut-out, and you'll often see several smaller 'logs' of wood glued together to a larger, solid base - which is also the case with the wall clocks you can buy here at PureTime.

With veneer it's easier to slice out wider planks of the wood and therefore use less planks for the same widh.

Wooden hooks

Pictured: Gatis - wooden hook

Uniformity with solid wood and veneer

As solid wooden wall clocks normally consist of several planks glued together, you'll get a more unique and varying expression when using solid wood. There can be structural differences in both pattern, color and structure.

Veneer is much more uniform as it consists of fewer and thinner layers of cut or sliced wooden pieces.

It al depends on taste whether you prefer one or another, and no matter what you go for be aware that two clocks are never the same because of the unique wooden structures in general.

The weight of wood

Another distinct difference is the weight of these two types of wood. Solid wood is heavier than veneer, as veneer is much thinner.

You can't say that heavy is better than light or the other way around, but to me it's just more 'likeable' when you hos a solid wood clock instead of thin veneer clock, which is also often only polished on the surface (and not the backside). But again - that's just my taste.

The resilience of different types of wood

Solid wood holds all the original abilites of wood - which also means a bigger impact by factors like changes in humidity and temperature.

I don't recommend to place a PureTime wall clock in e.g. your bathroom, as the wood will naturally 'work its own ways' and extend a bit - and you will risk having cracks or changes in the color/look.

Veneer is much more resistant as you already has cut into the wood and thereby affected the 'tensions' within the wood.

A challenge with veneer is that you cannot work very much with the surface as it's so thin. If you have a scratch or wish to work on the dial design, your options are very limited.

That's also one of the reasons I've chosen to design the PureTime wall clocks in solid wood.

Wooden toilet signs

Pictured: Wooden toilet signs

The price of wood

Another pretty huge point to consider is the price. Solid wood is simply much more expensive to work with, as you need more wood compared to the thin planks of veneer. So generally, the cost of materials is higher.

There is also usually more manual work when working with solid wood.

The PureTime wall clocks are made from scratch, and around half of the workload is work by hand - craftmanship - which you can read a lot more about in the article about manufacturing of wall clocks.

I hope this article gave you an impression on the two wood types. There is not a winner - but there is a difference.

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