"Aiming for perfection"

In the furniture workshop of the Hamburg Completion Center

Kathrin Impelmann is a joiner in the furniture workshop of the Hamburg Completion Center. Together with her colleagues she endows furniture destined for the custom-built cabins of VIP aircraft with premium-grade, wood-veneered surfaces – work that requires not only great precision but also good powers of imagination. 

  • Katrin Impelmann
    Bird's eye maple, Finnish ice birch and imbuya – when Kathrin Impelmann talks about the various types of wood veneer, she is in her element. In the furniture workshops of Lufthansa Technik's Hamburg Completion Center she and two colleagues are responsible for the veneers that go on the furniture in VIP aircraft cabins. As well as specialist knowledge of the various types of wood veneer, she also needs for her work a very good eye, strong spatial ability and craftsmanship skills for handling the thin sheets of veneer.
  • Katrin Impelmann
    "Wood is a natural product. The texture can change enormously within just a few sheets. To ensure that a piece of furniture or a whole room containing veneered furniture looks harmonious and consistent, we use sheets that are as close as possible to each other and the same width in adjoining areas," Kathrin Impelmann explains. Before cutting the sheets of veneer are laid on top of each other in a precise manner using distinct points.
  • Katrin Impelmann
    The veneer sheets are cut to shape with a punch press, glued together around the edges and adhered to the surfaces with a hot press. For curved areas, the joiners use a vacuum press technique with a film that nestles precisely to the forms.
  • Katrin Impelmann
    Before the veneers are stuck onto the furniture, the joiners plan their work in great detail. "We think about the surfaces that are to be veneered. What are the areas that are relatively large and go together? Then we match the design plan with the veneer quality. We divide up according to grain and color – and sometimes it is also a matter of taste," Kathrin Impelmann explains.
  • Katrin Impelmann
    Panels are joined together out of several strips or sheets. For a large sliding door with a lot of texture they might use 16 individual sheets that are selected and assembled in such a way that the result is a harmonious design. Kathrin Impelmann laughs: "In private I really don't like jigsaw puzzles."
Read more about the work of Kathrin Impelmann in the next printed issue of Technik Connection.