Veneer Buying Guide: Part 3 – Tips for Working with Wood Veneer

Now that we have discussed the construction of wood veneer, we will now move onto a few best practices I have discovered over the 20 years I have been in the industry.

Order enough veneer to complete your project

Because natural wood veneer is a naturally grown product, grain and even color may not match from log-to-log.  The species characteristics will be present from log-to-log but there could be more mineral, less knots, more figuring, etc.  If you are unsure on exactly how much veneer you will need to finish the project or if your client will want to match the veneer on another project down the road, you will want to order extra veneer. Spending a bit more upfront will save you and your client headaches down the road.

Use the correct adhesive for layup

In general, manufacturer recommended adhesives with 20% or higher solids content is sufficient for most layup applications.  The actual adhesive used will vary based on the technique you are using, such as hand lay-up, press, or vacuum bag.  Different backers may also require different glue types to avoid bleed through to the face when the panel is finished.  If you are unsure if you are using the correct adhesive, it is best to contact the adhesive manufacturer or the distributor where the veneer was purchased.

Finishing tips

  • Your finishing area should be clean and dust free.
  • Wait at least 24-48 hours before finishing your newly laminated panel.
  • Inspect your new panels for ridges, bubbles, or grain raise.  This can be done by shining a light across the grain of the sheet.  If you see any of these issues, they will need to be addressed prior to finishing.
  • If there are any open seams in the panel face, a color matched wood filler or putty can be applied.
  • Not all finishes are created equal. Be sure to follow manufactured recommend techniques based on the type of finish you are using. Water based finishes, oil, stain, varnish, and lacquer all have specific instructions that should be followed.