What is Wood Veneer?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014  |  edgeband.co.uk

Veneer is a thin covering of wood, used in woodworking, and designed to be glued onto a board such as MDF, Plywood or Chipboard to give the appearance of a solid wood board. It is typically less than 0.6mm thick, which makes it easy to manipulate and adhere to the chosen surface. Veneering dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians who used it to decorate their furniture.


How it's Made

Wood veneer can be produced by slicing directly from the trunk of the tree; or it can be obtained from slices of wooden blocks. Once sliced, the wood grain is evident from the tree's growth rings, and could differ greatly depending upon how, and at what angle, it's sliced, each producing a very distinctive grain. Each tree species also produces a distinct grain. Timber cut at right angles to the rings produces a straight pattern and is known as Quarter Cut. Where the timber is sliced parallel to the rings a Crown Cut is achieved which has a crown or 'cathedral' with a straighter grain on each side.


Types of Wood Veneer

Numerous tree species produce beautiful and sought after veneer, including but not limited to Cherry, Birch, Oak, Walnut, and Maple trees. Mahogany is another popular veneer, often found on wall panelling. Consumers can choose from different types of veneer:

  • Raw, which has no backing, and is capable of being glued on either side.
  • Paper-backed veneer which is available in various sizes, and can be bought in sheets where smaller veneers have been joined together, also ideal to cover curves or smaller areas.
  • Veneers which have been have had an adhesive backing applied to allow for easy application to a board.



Tabletops, cabinets, and various types of furniture, are commonly finished with wood veneer, enabling the woodworker to create custom, unique and higher-end pieces. This method is also popular for mass-produced wood furnishings, but is instead glued to MDF, Plywood, or other inexpensive boards. Veneering is also used in parquetry and marquetry.


Advantages of Using Wood Veneer

A product made with veneer is less expensive when compared to a similar product made of solid wood. The veneer is an aesthetically appealing thin covering applied to an object to conceal its true appearance, thereby increasing its decorative value. It's an affordable alternative to solid wood, and is environmentally friendlier than other materials.

Many designs are impossible to create using solid wood, and can only be achieved with wood veneer. Solid wood also reacts poorly in humidity, limiting pattern and design possibilities, which can be achieved with veneering.



Veneer products are many and include Wood Veneer Sheets suitable for face material used in carpentry, cabinet making and kitchens. Veneer Edging is also commonly used to cover the raw edge of boards such as Veneered MDF or Plywood.