Veneering is an easy way of creating impressive looking panels. By gluing a very thin slice of wood onto cheap material such as particle board, you can get good looking results without spending a lot of money. But like most things, veneering requires you know what you are doing. Here is a short introduction to veneering.
Veneering is actually a very old way of creating good looking furniture. It was already used in the Ancient Egypt, 4000 years ago. The beautiful rococo furniture from the time of Louis XV, that is, from the mid-18th century, is often considered as the most beautiful examples of veneering.
Once it became possible to use machines to create good furniture in the 19th century, veneering became less popular. Veneering took too long and became too expensive. But thanks to improved technology veneering has become cheaper and is still used today. For woodworkers, veneering is a cheap way of creating impressive looking furniture.
Using exotic wood can be very expensive but buying sheets of veneer is generally cheap. Nowadays you have a lot of different woods to choose from, more than different 200 woods are available as veneer. Unfortunately, some of them are only available in small sizes. But using veneer is often the only way of using rare wood and in many cases veneering is financially the only viable solution.
One advantage of veneering is that you don’t need any expensive tools. A veneer saw is used to cut and trim veneer. A veneer saw has a small curved double-edged blade, which ensures clean cuts. A veneer hammer is used to press the sheets of veneer in place. Note that you are not using the veneer hammer to hammer the sheets of veneer, instead it is used like a squeegee, the hammer has a wide blade that is used to push or pull the veneer in place and to press out excess glue.
Another way of getting the veneer in place is to use a veneer press. Previously mechanical presses were used but nowadays a vacuum press is a much better solution. The good news is that vacuum presses are easy to use and are relatively cheap.
Particleboard is cheap and a good choice for veneering. Particleboard does not have any grain, making it easy to lay veneer sheets on particleboard. If you are using hardwood, you need to make sure that you lay veneer sheets parallel to the grain. Veneer sheets that are going to be matched should come from the same log. This means that you have a set of veneer sheets that are virtually identical.