Decorative face veneers are the reason hardwood plywood is specified as a material. Learning to specify the wood species, cut, match and grade of veneers that achieve precisely the desired appearance is an art unto itself and can require much study and experience.
Wood species are the primary distinction in the grain structure and color of veneers. Generally, wood species are divided into hardwoods (deciduous or leaf bearing) and softwoods (coniferous or cone bearing). In addition, wood species are often classified as “open grain” or “closed grain,” which refers to the texture of the wood’s cell structure.
Besides wood species, three additional factors determine the appearance and the costs of veneers and ultimately of the decorative wood panel:
Veneer Cutting Methods include Rotary, Plain Sliced, Rift Cut, and Quarter Sliced. Each of these methods will produce a distinctive type of grain depending upon the species selected.
Veneer Matching. Other than rotary cut whole piece faces, all veneers for full-sized panels must be assembled into large sheets or “spliced” together. How the individual veneer flitches are arranged is called veneer matching and will produce a specific pattern in the finished panel.
Veneer Grading is based primarily upon the appearance of the finished product. States grades its veneer based on the standards outlined by the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association.
Read our Veneer Specification Guide for illustrations and detailed information about each of these important specification factors.