An Inside Look into the Making of Wood Veneer

wood veneersVeneers are thinly sliced pieces of wood used in countless ways, including the facing and decoration of walls, furniture, cabinetry, musical instruments and more. Wood veneer is coveted by artisans throughout the world. Veneers date back to the ancient Egyptians with furniture and sarcophagi examples found in their tombs. But how is it actually made? Let’s demystify the process of making wood veneer, to better understand and appreciate the true craftsmanship that goes into creating every piece.

Wood Veneer: From Log to Finished Product

1. Preparation – Logs are classified by species, and then inspected to ensure that only high quality wood is used to make veneer. Less than 3-5 % of hardwood logs that are harvested end up being veneer logs. They need to meet certain dimension requirements and are often sold at auction. In some cases, logs are given a barcode or tag for easy identification.

2. Cleaning – The selected logs are debarked and sometimes run through a metal detector to find any nails, barbed wire that would damage the knifes. Logs that are not intended for rotary peeling will be cut in half or quartered from the top to bottom. The heart is seldom in the exact middle as the side facing the sun or other circumstances will develop more wood on one side. Where to make the best cut requires a lot of experience.

3. Soaking – The logs are placed into a large vat. They will be soaked in hot water, or steamed usually 176 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 100 degrees Celsius), to soften the fibers of the wood. Soaking or steaming usually lasts for 20 hours to 3 days, depending on the species, size and hardness of the logs and the thickness the veneer will be cut.

wood veneers4. Slicing – Depending on the size, graining or certain defects will determine how a log will be sliced. There are various slicing techniques, including:

  • Rotary cut
  • Plain slice
  • Quarter slice
  • Lengthwise slice

5. Drying – Once the log is cut into individual veneer slices, it will be fed into a mechanical dryer or press dryer to remove moisture from the wood. After drying the moisture content will typically be between 8-10%. Drying prevents the wood from rotting or warping. At this point the individual sheets are reassembled into packs and trimmed or all stacked on top of one another into a flitch.

6. Sorting – The dried veneer is sorted and graded according to its quality.

A well-established wood veneer manufacturer will have an impressive array of beautifully made veneers from which to select, and can give expert advice on the look and particular qualities you are seeking for your special project.

Sabrina Parisette-HerzogSabrina Parisette-Herzog is a 5th generation wood veneer specialist. Owner and President of Herzog Veneers, Inc., and a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, she and her husband Sam started the company in High Point, NC in 1982.
As a major supplier to….read more.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Herzog Veneers and a click-able link back to this page.

Previous post:

Next post:

To see our vast inventory of the finest quality exotic and domestic Veneers - Click Here
or Call 336-434-4053