5 Most Common Types of Wood Veneers

The interior of a boat

Wood veneers are extremely thin slices of wood used in construction and carpentry. Various types of finished and unfinished wood are used to produce veneers. You are able to achieve an attractive wood grain appearance with veneer. It is an ideal substitute for large areas of solid wood, as it costs less but still gives you a beautiful finish. The veneer is attached to the flat surface using an adhesive. Some of the most common types are outlined below.

1. Raw Wood Veneer

Exotic wood species are used to produce raw wood veneer. Due to the variety of exotic trees that exist, raw wood veneer is widely available in several grain patterns. It is highly durable and resilient, especially since most of the tree species are of hardwood variety. Raw wood veneer costs less than most of the other types. You may use either side of raw wood veneer, as they both look the same. However, once you apply a finish, one side will bear a distinct difference since the wood cells undergo a transformation. Raw wood veneers can only be used on flat surfaces. No effort is made to match the wood grain during manufacture. This may limit you if you wish to capture a particular finish.

2. Backed Veneers

These are the most expensive wood veneer varieties available. They incorporate another material to add strength and flexibility to the veneer. Cloth, foil, plastic, or paper can be used for backing purposes. The backing material is attached to one side of the veneer sheet. You can use backed veneers on both flat areas and curved surfaces. Backed veneers are available in small, medium or larger sizes since smaller pieces of veneer are combined before the backing material is attached. This makes them more versatile than the raw wood variety. Although they're the most expensive veneers, every effort is made to match the wood grain during the manufacture of backed veneers. This assures you of a highly satisfactory outcome once installed.

3. Rotary-Cut Veneers

curled piece of wood veneer

These are perhaps the cheapest variety. They are produced from a log as it spins on a lathe. A log is placed on a wood lathe that has a cutting implement attached to it. As the lathe is turned, the cutter slices the log into thin sheets.

4. Shop-Sawn Veneer

This is produced manually by woodworkers who prefer to produce their own wood veneers. They use a band saw to cut the veneer from raw timber. The disadvantage of shop-sawn veneers is that they are often thick. This is because manual sawing cannot give you the fine veneer widths that are produced in a mechanized way. Shop-sawn veneers cannot be used on curved surfaces. It may prove difficult to use them effectively for certain applications, such as curved cabinet doors.

5. Laminate Veneer

Several fine layers of wood are pressed together to form one material. An adhesive is used to compact the individual layers together. The laminate veneer is one of the more flexible types. It can be shaped and bent into place accordingly. This makes it widely popular.