Friday, March 7, 2008

Recon Wood

This is been one hard, cruel winter. The temperature has averaged 2.3 degrees below normal for an average temperature of 17.3 degrees according to Sven from KARE-11. This has not been the ideal winter for a construction project. We are about 1 week behind schedule because of the frigid weather, which is not too alarming for us considering the fact we haven’t even gotten our current home ready to put on the market yet. (We are about 3 weeks behind that schedule).

The new fiberglass windows are enroute from Canada and should arrive next week. Once they put the windows in, they can open up the existing corner of the house, without exposing everything to the elements. Until then, they have started to wrap our house with Tyvek, making it look windowless.

Meanwhile, we’ve been working with Eastvold Custom Woodworks on the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. One of the choices we’ve been deliberating is the wood finish for the casework. Matt Eastvold introduced us to “recon” veneer. Reconstituted veneer is man made veneer which uses real wood fiber, such as rotary sliced Italian Poplar, and embosses the wood with grain, color and texture to simulate a wide variety of species.. Brookside Veneers is one of the companies that offers “recon” veneer.

So, in addition to the traditional choices of oak, maple and mahogany, we can pick from somewhat exotic species as Sapele, Makore and Bubinga. Once again, what used to be a fairly simple choice has become one of infinite choices! We can also sleep better at night knowing that we have not contributed to the clear cutting of rainforests.

We like the linear quality of quarter sawn woods. The term quarter sawn describes how the veneer is cut from the tree. The wild grain oak that is commonly seen in inexpensive cabinets is usually rotary sawn. Quartered or rift cuts are more expensive, but depending on the wood species, will produces a straighter grain pattern.

For the kitchen cabinets, we are looking at a quartered South American Rosewood (recon veneer). We like the deep, rich color and the variation between lighter and darker grains. Although strongly striped grains such as Zebrawood or Ebony have been the latest fashion trend in wood, we want a slightly calmer wood because we’re combining a number of colors and materials in the kitchen already.

We fell in love with vertical grained, clear Douglas Fir when we saw the Disney Concert Hall. This softwood is used for the organ and all the interior wood cladding in the concert hall and it’s absolutely gorgeous, both visually and acoustically. What better place to use this beautiful wood than in the “most important room in the house”- the bathrooms. We will use the douglas fir veneer at both of the bathroom vanities. The lighter wood will add a warm touch to the cooler grey and white tiles we have selected.

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