Veneer is obtained either by
"peeling" the trunk of a tree or by slicing large rectangular blocks
of wood known as flitches. The appearance of the grain and figure in wood comes
from slicing through the growth rings of a tree and depends upon the angle at
which the wood is sliced. There are three main types of veneer-making equipment
A rotary lathe in which the wood is turned against
a very sharp blade and peeled off in one continuous or semi-continuous roll.
Rotary-cut veneer is mainly used for plywood, as the appearance is not
desirable because the veneer is cut concentric to the growth rings.
A slicing machine in which the flitch or piece of
log is raised and lowered against the blade and slices of the log are made.
This yields veneer that looks like sawn pieces of wood, cut across the growth
rings; such veneer is referred to as "crown cut".
A half-round lathe in which the log or piece of
log can be turned and moved in such a way as to expose the most interesting
parts of the grain.
1 Types of veneers
There are a few types of veneers available, each serving a
Raw veneer has no backing on it and
can be used with either side facing up. It is important to note that the
two sides will appear different when a finish has been applied, due to the cell
structure of the wood.
Paper backed veneer is
as the name suggests, veneers that are backed with paper. The advantage
to this is it is available in large sizes, or sheets, as smaller pieces are
joined together prior to adding the backing. This is helpful for users that do
not wish to join smaller pieces of raw veneers together. This is also helpful
when veneering curves and columns as the veneer is less likely to crack.
Phenolic backed veneer is
less common and is used for composite, or manmade wood veneers. Due to
concern for the natural resource, this is becoming more popular. It too has the
advantage of being available in sheets, and is also less likely to crack when
being used on curves.
Laid up veneer is raw veneer that
has been joined together to make larger pieces. The process is
time-consuming and requires great care, but is not difficult and requires no
expensive tools or machinery. Veneers can be ordered through some companies
already laid up to any size, shape or design.
Reconstituted veneer is made
from fast-growing tropical species. Raw veneer is cut from a log, and
dyed if necessary. Once dyed, the sheets are laminated together to form a
block. The block is then sliced so that the edges of the laminated
veneer become the 'grain' of the reconstituted veneer.
Wood on Wood Also
called 2-ply is a decorative wood veneer face with a utility grade wood
backer applied at an opposing direction to the face veneer. 
2 Advantages of using veneers
Furniture made with wood veneer
uses less wood than the same piece of furniture made with solid wood. Some
projects built using wood veneer would not be possible to construct using solid
lumber, owing to expansion and contraction caused by fluctuation of temperature