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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Ray Rivlin

I bet when you look at a tree, you don’t always know what species (type) of tree it is or the color of the wood inside. These are two things that people working with veneers can tell just by looking at the bark.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

treeLondon, the capital ofEngland, has long been home to many Jews. At one time, most of them lived in a district called theEast Endand it was there, in 1895, on a street calledHackney Road, that three brothers — Harry, Abe, and Jacob Reuben — opened a business.

Like many other Jewish traders in the area, they worked with wood but they did not make furniture. The Reuben brothers traded mainly in plywood, timber, and wood veneers.

“What are wood veneers?” I asked my son-in-law, Jeffrey Reuben, the fourth generation of Reubens to own and manage the business, now known as Constructional Veneers Ltd.

“Wood veneers are thin layers of wood,” he told me, “either peeled off a log (the trunk of a tree) as it rotates like a chicken turning on a spit, or sliced off it by a machine called a veneer slicer. 

 

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