Business Cards Made From Wood – So Yesterday, Or Is It?
It was old hat. Yet the members of the online forum literally fell all over themselves oohing and aahing about business cards made from wood—REAL wood as the posting member proudly proclaimed.
Seriously? This is so yesterday. Or is it?
What might be old news to you and me could be a revelation to your clients. And in the case of wooden substrates, things have changed.
So sit up and listen…
My first printed wood veneer samples date back to 2006—large, beautifully silk-screened and offset-printed posters in cherry and white birch. What a tactile experience! And yes, they’re still in my private collection.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen our share of wood veneer business cards, but the veneer and printing industries have evolved.
Now, said wood veneer is available in a multitude of colors—from Cherry to Red Cedar. Rolls or sheets—you can print offset and (here’s where it gets really interesting) digital. Yes my friends—Indigo, iGen, Nexpress can print wood veneer—depending on the maximum caliper the particular press allows.
Slice it, dice it anyway you want it
But let’s back up for a second and look at the amazing way these substrates are created. And believe me, this is worth a sales call to a potential customer all by itself.
The most common ways these veneers are sliced are:
- Rotary—The veneer is peeled off the tree trunk (think unrolling a roll of paper towels) with a rotary cutter that peels the veneer to a .007˝ thickness (or better said, thinness). As this method rotates around the grain of the tree, no two sheets will look alike. Rotary cutting is the only way to achieve a 48˝ wide whole-piece face.
- Plain—A log is literally sliced into super-thin sheets. This method produces thin veneers that are no wider than the log and have a pronounced repeating grain pattern.
- Quarter Cut—The log is cut into quarters before slicing the veneer. The knife slices through the quartered log at approximately a right angle to the growth rings. The resulting grain pattern is typically straighter in most species.
All by itself, the veneer sheet would be too thin and sensitive to run through any press. The manufacturers I spoke to back the veneer with fleece or a paperboard or another layer of veneer, bringing the total thickness of the sheet to .010˝ and up to .020˝.