How Wood Veneer Is Made.

The Manufacture of Veneer.

Logs are assembled in a yard and sorted by species.  In the hotter months they have to control the humidity to prevent them deteriorating, presumably by spraying or misting with water.

The first procedure is to debark the logs.  The bark is mechanically peeled off and recycled for fuel or shredded for other purposes.

Modern sawing methods allow the log to be positioned for the best cut without loss or damage and then cut in half or quarters.  Each piece is coded for easy identification and they are kept together throughout the process.  The pieces are then soaked to soften the fibers for uniform slicing.   This done by totally submerging them in water heated to 80 – 100 degrees centigrade and steaming them for 12 – 72 hours.  The logs must be cut within 1 hour of being removed.

As they are cut the each slice is bar-coded to ensure they are kept together.

There are a number of methods of cutting wood veneers:-

By varying the way a veneer is cut the figure in the wood is shown to its best but his often decreases the yield

Flat Slicing

Also called plain slicing.  The veneer is cut parallel to the center of the log and because of the natural taper in the tree it produces what is called  a “cathedral type pattern.”

Quarter slicing

The timber quartered and then is sliced at right angles to the annual rings.  This produces a straight grain effect.  This is very good for timbers such as oak which can have a lot of figure or flecking produced by the medullary rays

Rift cut

The log is quartered and slicing is done with the growth rings striking the knife slightly off a 90 degree
angle, producing a straight or comb like grain minimizing fleck.

Half-round cut

The log is sawn in half and mounted on a rotary bed. Each time the log passes the knife, a leaf is sliced off. The advantage of this method is that it will yield wider leaves from a given log than are produced by plain cutting.  This produces a veneer with a cathedral type pattern but the cathedrals “spires” are more rounded

Rotary cutting

The whole log is centered on a bed and rotated against a knife.  This produces a continuous sheet of veneer,  The slice is parallel with the annual growth rings and so lacks any pattern.  It is a very economical method as there is very little waste. Rotary cut veneers are suited to making plywood.

This very informative, promotional video is from the Canadian Hardwood Plywood and veneer Association and is made in collaboration with their members.