So, when customer’s contact us re vintage dining tables they often ask whether or not our mid century dining tables are made from solid wood or constructed using veneers.
Now, far be it from us to dictate … however … it really isn’t something that should be a major consideration when selecting a vintage dining table. Why is that?, you may ask. Well, let’s explore the topic here.
So, the vast, vast majority of vintage dining tables of the 1960s and 70s are made using real wood veneers, even the majority of the high end, more expensive, Danish mid century dining tables produced during this period.
In fact, this method of finishing furniture in real wood veneers has been used for many hundreds of years. Many antique dining tables are also constructed using wood veneers. These veneers are sometimes applied to a solid wood base or may be adhered to a plywood core, for instance.
However, do not be alarmed. The material within the top of a vintage dining table will be encased within the external veneer and will not be seen. In fact, it is extremely difficult to spot where veneers have been used, unless you actually break open your mid century dining table (which, clearly, you aren’t going to do). It takes a well trained eye and very close examination to be able to spot the use of veneers.
If you look around the internet, you’ll regularly find sellers incorrectly describing tables as solid wood, when in fact they are not. The reason being is that, to the untrained eye, it is extremely difficult to tell.
Now, there are a few salient points to add in here when discussing vintage dining tables and the use of veneers.
Firstly, there were, and still are, some makers who use veneers that are not real wood. These are, if we may say, pretty horrible, plastic veneers that have been printed to look like real wood. These are to be avoided as they look awful and are found only on cheap furniture of poor quality. Schreiber was one mid century maker who used these faux wood veneers. Europa is another example.
Secondly, where real wood veneers were used for the tops of many mid century dining tables, worth mentioning that the legs of the tables were always made from solid wood.
Lastly, there are a few exceptions to the prevalence of wood veneers on mid century dining tables. A. Younger made some of their dining tables using solid wood tops and all Ercol dining tables of the period were manufactured using solid wood table tops, normally elm wood.
So, to summarise. Panic not when you find that your vintage dining table has been made using wood veneers. It’s lasted this long so the technique has clearly stood the test of time. Avoid faux wood veneers – these are horrid! If, after reading this, you’re still hung up on sourcing a solid wood table top, consider a vintage dining table by Ercol.