36 species, patterns and color of paneling
made with real wood veneers
Where to find real wood veneer wall paneling? The leader in this U.S. market, with the greatest selection, seems to be States Industries, based in Eugene, Oregon, since 1966. States Industries offers 36 different species, pattern and colors of wood paneling, including three kinds of grooving — (1) flat [no grooves], (2) beaded [bead board] or (3) traditional orangeburg. “Orangeburg” is the term for asymmetric pattern of vertical grooves we see in most all paneling from back in the day. States says the repeat is typically “vertical grooves at 4-8-4-7-9-6-4-6 inches across the panel’s face.” Now don’t you feel smarter for knowing this? Impress your friends and family at cocktail parties. Or watch their eyes glaze over, more likely.
I had a good long phone conversation about real wood paneling with Bill Powell, head of marketing for States Industries. He sent me several samples of the paneling that I thought would be of greatest interest to Retro Renovators. I like them a lot, especially the orangeburg American Cherry and Spanish Pecan.
If I were doing a cozy basement den, I would for sure consider these two designs, the cherry in particular, I love the dark, rich, warm, red tones. My photos do not do the richness of the colors justic. My only nit, is that I wish the vertical grooves of the orangeburg were narrower.
Bill and I also talked about “why” wood paneling has become unfashionable. He followed up with an email:
It was nice to meet you via the phone this morning and to be made aware of your site and your “defense of paneling” blog. It is good to know there are realists who recognize that there is a place for quality paneling products. I have shipped you samples of six of our traditional paneling designs including American Cherry. I have also attached a pdf of our (2005) print paneling brochure.(Bill notes that there are some discontinued patterns still featured in the brochure.)
Although States is known more today for industrial hardwood plywood, we actually began in 1966 as a wall paneling manufacturer. Currently we continue that legacy with 36 pattern/specie combinations of standard retail offerings and a number of proprietary products designed for specific customers. With four exceptions, all of our paneling products are made with natural wood veneers. The exceptions are inexpensive beaded, primed MDF panels intended for painting. All of our paneling is made with soy based, no-added-formaldehyde adhesives, and many are available FSC Certified.
Some of the angst you identified is due to the success paneling enjoyed in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The more popular paneling became, the more competitive the market became, and manufacturers outdid each other to produce lower and lower price points and consequently lower quality and something less than beautiful product. At the same time retail building material outlets shifted from local and regional stores that reflected localized preferences to national outlets with more generic products. The reason that only States Industries and Murphy are still producing natural wood veneered plywood paneling is that prices for those products are 25% to 40% higher than synthetic faced, composite cored products. Consumers prefer natural wood, but they expect to pay mock wood prices.
…Thanks for your interest.
States Industries LLC
You know, since launching my newest leetle blog, Knotty is Nice, I have been paying more attention to the wood paneling, ceilings and beams that I see in photographs that readers send me of midcentury houses. There were a lot of wood paneled walls! And when the wood is good wood, the wood walls can be very nice indeed.