How to buy veneer online

Wood in computer

By slicing logs into thin veneers, mills bring rare, beautiful, and exotic wood into a price range accessible to all. Try to find it locally, though, and "accessible" probably is not the word you're muttering under your breath. Fortunately, the modern world has caught up with those widely scattered mills, and online veneer retailers have stepped up with expertise and extensive catalogs of species. You'll find veneer sold online in two main categories: raw-wood veneer and manufactured veneer (commonly paper-backed veneer), making your next veneer project as easy as HTTP.

Raw-wood veneer

Like brick-and-mortar retailers, most dealers in raw-wood veneer sell sheets in bundles (called flitches). Stacked in the order they came off the log, they allow you to create striking matched patterns on your project. (Avoid any veneer listings labeled "random" if you plan to make a matched pattern, such as a bookmatch.)

The best retailers display photos of a sheet from the actual flitch, alongside dimensions and available quantity, so you know exactly what you're buying. If your online veneer supplier shows only photos representative of the veneer's species, explain your project requirements and ask them to e-mail pictures of in-stock flitches that would work. Most will be happy to help.

Remember to order a couple of extra sheets in case you split one of the delicate sheets. And be sure to order an inexpensive veneer of similar density for the opposite side of the panel. This equalizes moisture exchange to prevent warpage. Ask your retailer for a recommendation.

Boards with tape on ends
Some veneer ships with taped ends to protect against splitting caused by humidity changes. Leave the tape in place until you use the veneer.

2 pieces of splotty wood
Wildly figured veneers often require flattening using a wood softener (such as glycerine-- Rockler.com item no. 58446).

Veneer being press between 2 boards
To keep it flat, store veneer that you don't plan to use immediately between MDF platens secured with screws.

Manufactured veneer

Don't let the term "manufactured" fool you. This veneer is real wood; only it's glued together in patterns (much like plywood facing) yielding larger sizes and more consistent quality. It typically has a substrate, such as paper, for added stability. Because of uniform color and grain patterns, retailers typically show only a representative image of each species they carry.

Most commonly available in 2x8' and 4x8' rolls, you pay more for the large size, consistency, and stability. But you'll appreciate these attributes for big veneering jobs, such as refacing a bank of cabinets, covering a tabletop, or wrapping a large furniture piece.

Our favorite online veneer dealers:

  • B & B Rare Woods:
    wood-veneers.com, 303-986-2585
  • Certainly Wood:
    certainlywood.com, 716-655-0206
  • Veneer Supplies:
    veneersupplies.com
  • Woodworkers Source:
    woodworkerssource.com, 800-423-2450

Veneer in rolled up in box
Manufactured veneer ships in large rolls. Store it in the shipping box or flatten it between two sheets of plywood.

Wood in computer
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