We’ve spent years honing our process into one that is environmentally conscious and consistently produces the most beautiful wood available. It’s a tried and true methodology and one that will continue to guide us, ensuring that we can offer exceptional products to our customers for their projects.
The logs are unloaded from the multiple trucks that arrive daily. Each log that has been purchased in the field or in the woods is re-scaled and re-measured to ensure accuracy. Then the log is marked for flitching with spray paint and is placed into a parcel based upon its characteristics of species, quality, length, size or intended customer. A plastic bar code tag accompanies the log throughout the entire process of production.
The logs are scanned to commence the production process. First the logs enter the debarking station where all of the bark is removed from the log. Then the log passes through a metal detector to verify this is no bullets, fencing, nails or any other type of metal that would ruin the blades. Finally the log is sawn into halves or quarters then re-banded back together with metal strapping
The re-banded logs are placed into a large steel vat. Water is added to fill the and submerge the logs. Using steam the water is heated and steadily increased to 80-90 degrees Celsius. Like a chef’s recipe, cooking times are closely kept industry secrets and vary by specie. Temperature and time are critical factors for determining veneer color and cutting quality.
After cooking the logs are removed from the steel vats, the metal straps are removed and are prepped for products. The flitches will pass through an automated cleaner called the FlitchPrep which finely ‘planes’ the outside of the log to remove any excess bark or irregularities on the outside. Once clean, the flitch is then smoothed on the bottom by rotating planer blades to achieve a completely flat surface.
There are two ways to hold a flitch on a slicing machine. The first is by holding with a vacuum. All of our vertical slicers are equipped with vacuum tables to create negative pressure and hold the logs to the table with any clamps. When half-round slicing, flitches are held in place by small clamps and grooved teeth to keep the flitch in place
The slicer with continuously slice at up to 100 sheets per minute squeezing a thin sheet of veneer between the knife and knife-bar. The sheets are stacked off of the back of the machine or fed directly into the veneer press dryer.
The sheets come off of the slicer and are stacked in sequence. The sheets are then fed by hand through the veneer press dryer to remove the moisture in the wood, and help the material lay flat. Through hot oil circulation the radiators in the dryers emit heat to dry the wood. This is a highly automated process that allows the operators to control the speed, temperature and humidity within the dryer.
When the sheets exit the dryer they are again caught in sequence and bundles in groups of 24 sheets.
After drying the bundles of 24 sheets are sent to the clipping line to be trimmed and dimensionalized. The operators trim off any defects or excess waste.
Each bundle runs over an electronic measurement eye which measures bundle length and width. The bundle size is then multiplied by the sheet count to provide an area that is then printed onto a bar-code label. This label is placed on the bottom corner of each bundle. All the bundles are then listed on a measurement list and calculated into the total area for that log.
After cooking a burl, a burl needs to be cleaned and prepped before slicing. Because of their irregular shape and because burls originated in the ground, they must all be clean by hand. The burls are grinded and debarked by hand and then pressure washed to remove any excess bark, sand or dirt.
Each burl has to be hung in the center. It is essential to production to have the burl’s “eyes” perpendicular with the knife. The burl then begins to rotate 360 degrees on the lathe while the knife moves closer to towards the burl. Sheet by sheet begins to come from the knife.
Very delicate handling is required; stacked in sequence. The burl is scored near a defect with a saw to have the veneer sheet make one full revolution.
Burls are then dried and clipped similarly to traditional veneer.
Each veneer specie is graded into specific product categories and grade qualities within these categories. There are universal standards for grading but veneer is subjective. You can experience the Bohlke difference in our grades with the attention to detail, consistency and quality that is unsurpassed in the veneer industry. Our graders average over 25+ years experience in the veneer business.
Each log is graded into a product category:
Within each product category we would have several grades:
Within each specific product category and grade, we sort our veneers by cut type. Traditional veneer production, plain sliced, produces plain sliced with developing half heart and quarters. In some cases logs are sold complete, where you are getting the entire log. On certain species we do separate plain sliced from quarter cut per customer/project specifications.
Find out all about the different cuts in our Veneer Cuts section.
Figure is the wavy textures across the face of the veneer; this gives the impression of an uneven surface although smooth. The effect is due to reflected light on the uneven arrangements of the fibers. Figure may be due to the wrinkling or bending, in wave formation, of the growth rings due to wind, uneven bark pressure, indention on the surface of the tree by vines, fungi, etc. The value of wood is increased greatly when it is figured.
Find out all about the different cuts in our Figure Types section.
Veneer procurement/selection is traditionally completed after numerous initial consultations between the client and our staff. Items such as scope, budgets, applications, physical requirements (which meet specific customer needs) have been outlined and defined. Your sales associate then selects options, which meet your specific requirements for final clients approval.
The veneer approval process, one of the most important steps in ensuring a successful project, can be accomplished in 3 traditional ways:
We have our available inventory photographed with a high definition digital camera. These live photos can be sent instantly for design/client review and initial approval. Measurement tallies for each log are attached to the photo.
Live samples from available inventory are pulled from various sections of the log to show quality, consistency and range. Samples can be sent for overnight delivery; we also will provide a detailed measurement list along with the specifications on every log.
The pre-selected material is inspected in our warehouse bundle by bundle to ensure quality and circumstance. This method is the most accurate and effective way to control the quality of your project. This also can allow the client, general contractor, woodworker and the veneer supplier to mutually select and agree to the appropriate material.
Accurate veneer procurement is one way to ensure a successful project. By utilizing one or all three of the veneer selection methods, the architect/designer can achieve their vision. This process can be secured by citing exact, approved, M. Bohlke Veneer log numbers into your project’s specification.
At M. Bohlke Face Department we have a variety of different options for splicing veneer into faces and layons. The facility is equipped with three cross-feed splicers with automatic trimmers, one longitudinal splicer, two double knife bundle guillotines, and an inline glue applicator. This advanced setup allows for MB Face to produce high quantities of faces with the precision to take on small customize orders.
The bundles of veneer are sorted sequentially and then trimmed on both ends. The veneer is then put onto the double guillotine knife and trimmed perfectly parallel on both edges. The operator is also clipping off any natural defects are not desired in the finished face.
After the veneer has been trimmed, it pass through and automatic glue applicator that coats a very fine layer of NAUF glue onto the edges of the whole bundle. The glue then dries for a few minutes until it is ready to be activated
Once the glue has dried, the bundle is fed sheet by sheet into the veneer splicer which joints the edges of the sheets together to make a continuous finished face/layon. Once the sheets have hit the desired width it is released from the splicer to have its ends trimmed automatically to make a perfectly square sheet.
In addition to the spliced faces, the Face Plant also warehouses a large stock of engineered veneer, which we call Vtec, as well as our Bamboo faces. The face plant also has efficient capabilities of doing cut to size veneer parts, specifically set up for cutting and stamping parts for the automobile dashboard industry.
M. Bohlke Veneer can provide you with high quality, imported lumber for any project. The majority of our lumber comes from the same high quality forests where our veneer trees come from, helping to ensure color and grain harmony between veneer and solid surfaces.
We receive lumber by the container load. It is graded and classified into our system with photos and tallies for the customer to see. We also remeasure to assure accuracy in quantity and monitor the moisture content of the material closely.
Our inventory consists of lumber in square edge and boule form, live edge table top slabs, carving pieces, reclaimed wood and other treasures for woodworking hobbyists.
M. Bohlke Veneer Corp. offers various shipping options and the assurance that all material is properly packaged. All of our veneers are crated with certified lumber before shipment. The crates are secured with plastic straps and draped in plastic wrap.
Most of our overseas customers are buying their material from us in container loads. In order to secure the pallets in the container, we add airbags to avoid shifting of the crates during transport.
For smaller quantities, we use LCL (less than container load) shipments, where our pallets are combined with other material from various suppliers into one container going to the same destination. We also prepare material for airfreight for our overseas customers when the need arises.
Our domestic customers are usually serviced via truck or when material is needed urgently, by air freight or courier service.