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(vənēr`), thin leaf of wood applied with glue to a panel or frame of solid wood. The art of veneer developed with early civilization. It produces richly grained effects cheaply and is used also on structural parts that must be cut with the grain for strength. The grain pattern varies with the direction of the cut, woods cut across the grain in general displaying more effective patterns, e.g., burr and oyster walnut, bird's-eye maple. Rosewood, satinwood, maple, walnut, and mahogany are frequently employed for veneers. Hand-cut veneers were 1-10 to 1-8 in. thick; the modern machine-cut sheets are rarely thicker than 1-32 in. Veneering executed in inlaid sheets is known as marquetrymarquetry
, branch of cabinetwork in which a decorative surface of wood or other substance is glued to an object on a single plane. Unlike inlaying, in which the secondary material is sunk into portions of a solid ground cut out to receive it, the technique of marquetry applies
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. Plywoodplywood,
manufactured board composed of an odd number of thin sheets of wood glued together under pressure with grains of the successive layers at right angles. Laminated wood differs from plywood in that the grains of its sheets are parallel.
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 and beams or planks of compounded woods are developed by a veneering process.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


The covering of one material with thin slices of another to give an effect of greater richness.
2. A thin sheet of wood that has been sliced, rotary-cut, or sawn from a log; used as one of several plies in plywood for added strength or as facing material on less attractive wood. See also: Masonite
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



wood in the form of thin sheets obtained by peeling off short logs on veneer peeling machines (rotary-cut veneer), slicing logs on veneer-cutting machines (sliced veneer), and sawing on veneer-sawing machines or gang mills (saw cut veneer).

Saw cut veneer (1–10 mm thick) is made from spruce, Nordmann’s fir, and Siberian stone pine. The highest quality veneer, it is used to make the soundboards of string instruments. The production of saw cut veneer entails substantial losses of wood in saw dust; the usable output of veneer is not more than 40 percent of the raw material.

Rotary-cut (0.1–10 mm thick), the most common variety of veneer, is made from birch, beech, oak, spruce, alder, aspen, pine, and other tree species. It is widely used to make plywood, plywood sheets, laminated wood plastics, and other types of laminated wood. Other uses include the decoration of cabinetwork, the production of matches and matchboxes, and the manufacture of separators for lead electrical accumulators.

Sliced veneer (0.2–5 mm thick) is produced from acacia, beech, oak, elm, chestnut, walnut, yew, ash, Karelian birch, mahogany, and other fine woods that have attractive grain. The desired decorative effect of the grain exhibited by different sections of the wood determines the direction of slicing. Several types of sliced veneer are distinguished on this basis, with radial, radialtangential, tangential, and tangential-face cuts. Sheets sliced from one log in sequence are packed in bundles in the order of slicing to help select veneer by color and grain. Sliced veneers are used in cabinetwork.

The growing scarcity of fine wood and the difficulty of artificially reproducing a texture equivalent in decorative effect to natural wood grain have encouraged the development of thin and ultra-thin (0.08–0.15 mm) veneers of fine woods and the improvement of the natural grain of the wood of ordinary species by special treatment (slicing on an angle to the longitudinal axis of the trunk, wavy slicing and peeling, conical peeling).


Spravochnik fanershchika, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Proizvodstvo lushchenogo i stroganogo shpona. Moscow, 1970.
Kanashkin, I. A. Proizvodstvo tonkogo lushchenogo shpona. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A thin sheet of wood of uniform thickness used for facing furniture or, when bonded, used to make plywood.
A facing, as of brick or marble, on the outside of a wall.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. A thin sheet of wood that has been sliced, rotary-cut, or sawn from a log; often used as the top one of several layers of plywood serving as a facing that is bonded to a less attractive wood, or as facing on a fire-rated material.
2. An outside wall facing of brick, stone, etc.; provides a decorative, durable surface but is not load-bearing.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
On top of quality products, ProCoat Systems sells to leading contractors in the industry that can guarantee the installation of your veneer is up to par with the high quality of the products.
While recent months have seen a rise in demand for walnut and other domestic hardwoods, exotic and character veneers, such as the pinkish-tan European beech, are also growing in popularity for the North American market, though not to the extent of maple's popularity.
Generally, veneers can last anywhere from 5 to more than 20 years.
Can I apply a wood veneer to materials other than wood?
The processes and properties of sliced bamboo veneer are discussed in this article.
"Porcelain veneers have their place in responsible restorative dentistry when provided by suitably trained and qualified individuals but I believe that other safe and proven cosmetic treatments, like bleaching and bonding, should be considered before the destructive ones.
One mother wrote to the dentist complaining her daughter's teeth were still growing and she had outgrown the veneers, the hearing was told.
These results are in contrast with previous findings (14) that showed the fracture resistance of both veneers were very similar.
Just about everyone in Hollywood is getting veneers: Tom Cruise, Jessica Simpson, Miley Cyrus and Kate Beckinsale.
They continue that traditional veneers are either fabricated with an aluminous core, making for a thick, unnatural appearance, or without the aluminous core, which make them weak and in need of an extensive application process.