Veneer is generally the thinnest type of manufactured wood available. It can be used to make other types of manufactured wood such as plywood, and can also be attached to particle board for a surface-level boost in appearance. Veneers can be “raw,” meaning that they stand on their own, but are often backed by another substance for some added durability. It is also common to see two-ply veneer, which shows graining on both sides.
Veneer – The Process
These sheets are taken mostly from the trunk of a tree, and are sliced with either lathes or special sawing machines. These devices cut through the tree’s growth rings, which alters the appearance of the grain pattern on both sides of the veneer. A properly manufactured veneer is usually less than three millimeters thick.
There are many applications for veneers outside of making plywood. When attached to thicker wood substances, particle boards or fiberboards, they make for a surface material which gives a smoother appearance to objects such as shelves or cabinets. They can also be used in cheaper furnishings where a more “pure” type of wood would be more expensive. Veneer is also helpful when a wooden appearance is desired, but wood is impractical due to its general properties (such as its moderate size shifts in various temperatures).