Carving and Veneering

Both carving and veneering are elements that set everyday pieces apart from works of art. These decoration methods are what give a piece its unique style.


Not just anyone can offer professional carving. Carving requires excellence of craft, as wood needs to be pared and shaped intricately, whether it’s done with a chisel or other wood-shaping tool. Many art and furniture pieces showcase the artistry behind woodcarvings. While those woods with a dense grain are best for carving, a restorer often has no choice but to work with more unforgiving woods from time to time.


Veneering is actually considered more a style of decoration for furniture than a finish. Those woods that were considered less valuable, and were often coarser to the touch and to the eye, benefitted a great deal from veneer. The veneer consisted of a thin sheet of much finer wood that was applied over a piece. In fact, certain types of wood were not used for anything else, simply because they were so rare.

3 Carving Techniques

There were several techniques applied in order to carve wood:


Veneering Techniques


Many may think that a veneer would lower a piece’s value, but this is not the case. When considering a solid piece of valuable wood such as mahogany, this would be much higher in value than one with only a mahogany veneer. However, even this can depend on the level of quality in the workmanship and when the piece was made.


Those veneers applied in the 17th and 18th centuries were cut by hand. Therefore, their thicknesses were uneven. In the 19th century, most veneers were cut by machine, resulting in much higher evenness and incredible thinness. Oyster veneering was created by slicing the veneer across the end grains of branches that were smaller. Having a circular shape one oyster veneer was placed on top of another. Evidence of the oyster veneer technique can be observed on walnut or olive wood chests of drawers made in the late 17th century.


Carving and veneering can be done at home using techniques published on the Internet. However, most restorers will strongly advise against doing this if the piece is considered a family heirloom. Where these family treasures are considered, any carving or veneering that is needed is best left to the skills of professionals.


If you require carving or veneering services we ask you to please contact us or give us a call at 203-817-0432. We stand by our quality services with our A+ Better Business Bureau rating.