Whenever you are doing your project in a Natural finish or even a light stain, it is important to recognize that veneers will often not match the solid wood pieces of your project. This can be frustrating, but once you understand the reasons why this is so, you can plan around it with the help of your Cabinet Joint your sales rep.

First, let’s illustrate why this is the case. When logs go to market, veneer suppliers get the first crack at the logs. Logs have to meet specific criteria in order to be utilized in veneer due to how the veneer flitches are skinned off the log, etc. So, the best ones are bought up first. The lumber companies who require hard and softwood lumber to make things like flooring, cabinet doors, etc get to choose from the logs that are left. What results is that the color tones and graining of the solid woods won’t match the veneers due to differences in the logs themselves. Some species like Walnut are the most prone to this color/grain variation, but what is most important to recognize is that, since Conestoga does not make the veneer, they cannot control the color of the flitches being used in the products they manufacture that use these veneered products. Were they to have to color/grain match all the veneers and plywood they did not manufacture to the solid wood products they do manufacture, they would end up throwing a majority of the plywoods away (since they are “in spec”, they cannot be deemed “bad” and rejected back to the supplier). Obviously, this is not a desirable outcome for anyone, including our customer whose price would leap upward if Conestoga’s plywood/veneer yields were adversely affected in this way.

So what might this solid wood vs veneer difference look like? Below is an image from a natural Walnut project. The solid wood framing on the cabinet face frame (left) is noticeably darker than the veneer skin which will be applied to the cabinet side (right). What is shown in this image is within tolerance and would not be replaced under warranty.


The situation is workable when it is a veneered cabinet side versus the cabinet doors/face frame because they are at 90 degrees to each other and therefore, the difference is not as obvious. However, if you are ordering plywood panel doors, your solid wood framing and the veneered center panel of the door can/will look noticeably different.

So what can you do about this situation? Here are some tips:

  1. Consider a stain (even a light stain) as any colorant used on the wood will help nullify the color difference, The darker the stain, the less obvious the difference will be.
  2. For finished cabinet sides that are obvious in your final installation, consider applied or integrated door panels on your cabinet sides. The door panels will match your operable doors and will, therefore, blend much better.
  3. For your doors, we always recommend that you select all solid wood doors when doing a Natural (or even a light) stain, or choose an all veneered door such as the Savoy design. Having a solid wood frame and panel in your cabinet door will ensure Conestoga can pull lumber that all blends nicely so that the door looks uniform.
  4. Look past it! We are not trying to be flippant or funny here. In truth, we live in a day and an age where we have synthetic versions of everything, made to look like wood: Vinyl floors that look like wood, ceramic tile that looks like wood, thermofused melamine that looks like wood. Laminate that looks like wood…You get the point! But, these products are made using controlled dye lots and patterns, so getting consistency and repeatability is not an issue. Consumers can’t reasonably apply the same level of expectation to Mother Nature. Wood is an organic substance and therefore, it will be different. Individual pieces in a door will vary and certainly, as described here, veneers and solids will vary. Learn to accept these differences as the things that make your kitchen unique and one of a kind!

Remember, Conestoga’s own warranty calls out that differences in veneers and solid woods are not warrantied, so while we fully understand your concern if your project exhibits this, please realize that we cannot do anything about replacements on the pieces as the replacements may be just as ‘off’, if not worse.

Should you have any questions, please contact a sales representative. They are versed in the product and can help guide you as you make your selections.