Surface Materials for Fine Furniture Design Explained

Hardwood Veneer, High-Pressure Laminate, Low-Pressure Melamine…these alternative furniture surface materials are often the most confusing and misunderstood areas of fine furniture design. However, surface materials are the most important aspect when evaluating the quality, durability, and beauty of a piece of commercial furniture.

Below we’ve broken down the three materials to help you understand the differences.

Deluxe Hardwood Veneer for Fine Furniture Design

Hardwood Veneer is used where the natural beauty of real wood is the primary desire. Real Wood Veneer is a thin layer of hardwood that is bonded to a substrate. It’s known to be the finest expression of quality in the commercial market.

The manufacturing process involves selecting the species of Hardwood, then cutting or slicing the log in a particular manner. The direction and mechanism with which it is sliced gives the veneer surface its characteristic grain and texture. Veneer comes from trees, and trees are natural, hence the grain and texture are unique to each tree and, therefore, unique to each piece of furniture.

Jagar only selects the finest hardwood veneers for its furniture. These veneers are carefully matched for grain and color, and generally are sliced from the same log. Hardwood Veneers enable designs and arrangements of the wood that are not possible with solid wood or laminates. Because of its origin and manufacturing process, veneer is more expensive than both High-Pressure Laminate and Melamine.

HardwoodVeneer Finishing for Luxury Executive Desks

All Jagar Veneer Furniture is finished with the highest-quality and most durable materials available. Our multi-step finishing process includes sanding, staining, sealing, sanding again, and then double top coating with a highly durable catalyzed lacquer. When completed, our finishes are resistant to the following common office and home substances:

- Hot Coffee

- Lemon Pledge

- Windex®

- Ammonia

- Lemon Juice

- Orange Juice

- Grape Juice

- Ketchup

- Vinegar

- Olive Oil

- 100-Proof Alcohol

- Standing Water

- Mustard (1hour)

- Detergent Solution


Premium High-Pressure Laminates for Fine Furniture Design

High-Pressure Laminates are used where long-term durability is the prime concern. It is the surface material of choice for furniture in a high-use application. High-Pressure Laminates are highly durable vs.:

- Moisture

- Chemicals

- Heat

- Impact

Our High-Pressure laminate is selected for its performance and the intended use of the product. The manufacturing of High-Pressure Laminate is a complex process involving 4 stages: 

1. Soaking sheets in resin

2. Drying

3. Stacking the sheets in layers

4. Thermosetting

This newly formed layer of laminate is combined with a decorative film layer, then attached to a wooden substrate. This provides a scratch-, impact- and stain-resistant surface.

Low-Pressure Melamine

Melamine is often used on budget office furniture to reduce cost, but it compromises long-term durability. Melamine is used when long-term durability is not the primary goal.

Jagar only uses melamine sparingly in interior parts that are not exposed to wear.

Also called low-pressure laminate or just laminate, melamine is a very thin paper that is applied on a substrate board. In general, Melamine is cost-effective due to its manufacturing process. However, it fails when exposed to moisture. It is also not as stain-resistant, nor is it as scratch-, mar-, or impact-resistant as High-pressure Laminates. Low-Pressure Melamine is only an option if you’re looking for a temporary furniture solution that is meant to have less than a 5-year lifespan.