Natural Veneer and Techwood: What’s the difference?

Trying to decide between natural veneer and engineered veneer for your home or office furniture? Has the process left you frustrated?

There are many similarities between the two, and differences as well. Understanding the differences and choosing the right piece for you can be confusing and even overwhelming. Multiple factors may influence your decision-process. Personal preference, cost and quality of the material all come into play. In some cases, how environmentally friendly a particular piece is may also impact the purchasing process.

Knoll offers two categories of wood veneer products to help meet the varying preferences of customers. The following guide will help you determine which choice is best for you.

Natural Veneer

This process begins by slicing a log of a given species of tree, such as cherry, maple or sycamore. The slicing, or “flat cutting,” in technical terms, reveals the natural characteristics of the wood for a more traditional aesthetic. The natural veneer then goes through Knoll’s 11-step finishing process and is available in a variety of colors. Natural veneer comes at a slightly higher price tag as the process produces a lower yield.

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Techwood™

Knoll’s engineered veneer called Techwood™ begins with a similar process; however, Techwood is cut from the poplar or African obeche tree. In the engineered veneer process, the log is cut on a rotary cutter, so that the wood is essentially “unrolled” revealing all of the wood’s irregularities. The Techwood is bleached and dyed to the desired color, producing a much more modern, uniform aesthetic than the natural veneer. The Techwood process produces a higher yield so the product comes at a lower cost than natural veneer. Customers who desire an environmentally friendly, less wasteful option often prefer Techwood because the engineering process produces a higher yield.

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So which is right for you? In short, natural veneer has more variation in the wood grain, showing the “cathedrals” and “islands” of the wood, whereas Techwood has a consistent linear wood grain. Natural veneer may also have more variation in color than Techwood, though its look is more traditional, and comes at a slightly higher cost.

Before making your final decision, take time to consider your personal preferences. What colors and wood grain style do you prefer and at what cost? Understanding the differences between natural veneer and Techwood allows you to make a more educated decision.