Red Gum

Also known as: American Red Gum, Sweet Gum, Satin Walnut, Sap Gum (sapwood only)

Botanical Name: Liquidamber styraciflua

Origin: Central and Southern USA

Description: Logs of Red Gum that are to be sliced into veneer are carefully selected for heart colour and soundness. They are mostly quartered although there is an increasing demand for flat-cut material showing a greater proportion of heartwood. The sapwood is a light creamy colour and contrasts with the mature heartwood which is variably marked and coloured from light to medium reddish brown, often with irregular dark streaks. The more movement there is in this streaking, the more valuable the veneer since it produces highly decorative “feathering” when matched. It is common to incorporate the sapwood when using Red Gum as this enhances the overall visual effect of the veneered surface. Some designs however call for the sap to be completely removed and this is often where the flat-cut logs can be utilized with far less waste. This is another of those species that are available fumed (smoked). Interestingly, the sapwood also reacts to the fuming process, unlike most other veneers where it remains relatively unaffected. This results in the whole of the veneer darkening and the sap somewhat more closely matching the heartwood for colour. Many logs yield an abundance of sapwood and are graded separately as Sap Gum. This is useful in its own right for interiors of furniture and detail work.

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