15 Common Veneer Mistakes


veneer-headline.gif you may already know some problems and pitfalls of purchasing flexible wood veneer. But chances are, there are still some mistakes you or your clients may not be aware of. These might cost you time, money and aggravation.

We've put together a comprehensive list of common and not-so-common mistakes from the design phase through the purchase of the actual veneer.

Our goal is to arm you with the knowledge you need to make the right veneer buying decisions. By being better prepared, you will have peace of mind while saving time and money.

We stock an unsurpassed variety of wood veneers from around the world. In addition to our wood species and grades, we have a complete range of sheet sizes and backers to meet the need of all woodworkers.

From Afromosia to Zebrawood, and from Oak to Cherry, most of our exotic, burl and classic woods are in stock and ready to ship to you immediately.

Customer service is our top priority whether you order online, in person, or by phone. Veneer experts are available to help with veneer selection as well as installation hints and tips. We value your time and pledge your orders and questions will be professionally handled. 

1. Assuming a sample will look exactly like the sheet you purchase

Wood veneer is a natural product and can vary in color and grain.  While they are of the same species and quality, they won’t necessarily match the current inventory because every tree we harvest is unique.

2. Assuming the same species of veneer will always be the same color

Veneer can be different colors within the same species. Some species are more consistent than others, but most will have some color variation. The only way to guarantee good color consistency is to buy veneer from the same log.

3. Not knowing veneer terminology

It’s important to know some basic veneer industry terminology when ordering. This will help eliminate mistakes and costly time delays. You are more likely to get the veneer you want if you understand the look of standard cuts, the different figure “types”, and also the matching patterns such as “book,” “slip” and "butt."

Veneer terminology is available in our wood veneer glossary HERE

4. Large Job? Large Species

If a particular job is large and requires a lot of matching wood veneer, it is smart to choose a wood species that produces large logs. This enables you to get long sequence matched veneer from one single log to ensure color consistency and grain match.

Smaller jobs aren’t as critical. A good rule of thumb is “large jobs equal large species and longer sequences while small jobs equal smaller species and shorter sequences.”

5. Choosing the best size veneer for your project

Even though you may be able to complete your project with two 4'x8' and one 4'x10' sheet, it may be in your best interest to get all 4'x10' veneer to ensure all veneer is from the same log. This will help to ensure similarity in color and grain. 

6. Purchase premium veneer for most visible projects

Every project has opportunities to save a little money on lower grade veneers. Areas such as shelves, backs, insides and undersides of cabinets and furniture don't always require premium wood veneer. Spend money for premium veneers only on the highly visible areas.

7. Purchase more veneer than you need

When planning for your project, allow extra wood veneer for redoing mistakes, off-cuts and for pleasing visual appearance. It's almost impossible to come back two days, a week or a month from now and get more veneer to match what you already have.

When in doubt, buy the extra sheet. You can always return any unused/ or uncut veneer that is not a special order. 

8. Assuming you’re choosing the right backer for your project

The correct backing material is determined by what gluing method you employ, the substrate you use and the stability and durability required for your application. When in doubt, ask for advice from qualified veneer professionals.

9. Assuming you can use contact cement with any backer

Use a hard setting glue such as PVA or urea formaldehyde whenever possible. Contact cement is a viable option but requires wood veneer with the proper backer. Using contact cement on 10 mil paperback veneer is not recommended.

10. Not sharing all the details of your project

When ordering wood veneer, be specific about quality, cut, color, sequence matching and so on. The better you describe what you need, the greater chance you'll be satisfied with the veneer you receive. This will help you avoid costly delays and dissatisfaction.

11. Assuming people at the box-stores know wood veneer

Your local big-box store can't match the quality, species availability or knowledge of a company which specializes in wood veneer.

Oakwood Veneer Company provides expert advice on veneer, veneer selection, proper application, adhesive choices and techniques as well as various finishing methods. By utilizing the total resources within our company, you will save time and avoid mistakes.

12. Not veneering both sides of a panel

It is critical to veneer both sides of a panel to ensure flatness and stability. This should be done with the same wood veneer, if both sides are visible, or a cheaper "backer sheet," if one side is not seen. Any panel that isn't properly balanced will almost certainly become warped and unusable.

13. Assuming whoever you work with on a veneer project really knows veneer

If you are a serious woodworker, you owe it to yourself to learn more about working with wood veneer. If you are an architect, designer or specifier of wood veneer, you owe it to your customers.

As the trusted expert, one of your roles is to educate those you serve about veneer possibilities and limitations. They need realistic expectations about veneer. Involve them in the selection process, explain the different qualities each wood species possesses and don't promise results that can't be achieved.

14. Assuming we can match existing wood veneer without a sample of what you’re trying to match

If you are matching existing wood veneer, the only sure way to get a good match is by providing a sample from the existing piece. Oakwood Veneer Company can match veneer grain and color to a door, drawer front or hard-wood component. Digital or color photographs will get you close matches if the color is accurately represented.

15. Assuming you can’t come to us with questions. 

Working with wood veneer is not always as simple as it seems. Questions may arise at any time. Customer service is the life blood of Oakwood Veneer Company. Our veneer professionals are available to give you accurate answers to your questions anytime you need them. Just call us. When it comes to veneer, there are no stupid questions!