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Veneer Types


Wood takes quite a journey from the verdant forest to the industrial saw. Trees are carefully selected based on a number of qualifications, inspected for maximum yield, cooked to soften the texture and reveal the character, and placed in vats to loosen the cellulose fibers for the slicing process. Along this journey, every step is critical to bringing out the best in every specimen.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

Once the logs enter the milling facility, the bark must be removed. Then the raw logs must clear a metal detector inspection to prevent bullets, nails and other metal objects from ruining the blades. Finally, the log is sawn into halves or quarters, known as a flitch.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

To ensure the leaves of veneer stay intact when sliced thinly, logs are placed into a steel vat and heated with water to cook them. The temperature and length of cooking depend on the species, and each veneer mill has its own preferences.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

Each section of the log, or flitch, must then pass through a final cleaning process to plane the outside of the log, which removes excess bark or irregularities.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

Before slicing the flitch into thin veneers, it must be attached to the flitch table, and typically a vacuum is used to secure it.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

This is where the magic happens. The flitch is converted into leaves, or sheets of very thin veneer, and the average slicer will produce up to 100 sheets per minute, depending on the type of wood and cut.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

While a plain slice or flat cut is the most recognized type of slicing method for high-quality veneers, there are several ways to cut a log. Each method creates a distinctive look, from putting the growth rings on display to embracing the irregularities present in all wood. The type of slicing method used depends on aesthetic preferences, budget and other factors.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship

Different types of veneers:

  • 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.
  • Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship
  • Phenolic backed veneer is less common and is used for composite, or artificial 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.
  • Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship
  • 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.

Decca Europe Veneer Types Craftsmanship