View Full Version : Veneer, Veneer, Veneer, Oh my!

James Terry
04-25-2010, 12:31 AM
I was pleasantly surprised to see the vast amounts of being sold on Ebay. Looking at some of the listings spawned a question for me: what exactly is veneer, ie: thin sheets up to what size? Do our 1/8" laser hardwood panels classify as a veneer?

I was thinking of approaching some local hardwood folks here in Dallas to see if they could make up some 1/8" panels for me, even if from project scrap. I'm wondering if I should approach a veneer company for this or perhaps I need to invest in some large tools such as a table saw and a planer and make my own? Anyone here already do this?

Also, what is a good method for attaching inlay from a generic veneer; just simple wood glue?

George M. Perzel
04-25-2010, 4:08 AM
Hi James;
A lot of questions in your thread.
"Veneer" is essentially any material applied to a substrate of another material. Plywood is an example of a multilayer veneer product. In woodworking, most commercial wood veneer is 1/42" to 1/28" and is sold as separate leaves of various widths and lengths or as a laminated sheet bound to a thin layer of paper, often with adhesive backing with sizes up to 6 feet wide and 12 feet long.
Veneer plywood is available in many species and many thicknesses. Not sure what you mean by "our 1/8" panels", nor what you think your "local hardwood" folks can make for you. Solid wood (thin wood) is available from a number of sources but is limited in width and length. Thin wide boards tend to warp easily and is expensive. An 1/8" cherry board 10" x 24" is likely to cost more than a 3/4" board of the same size because of resawing labor cost.
Normally veneer is applied to a substrate using various glues depending on the method used to apply pressure. Water based glues tend to cause warping as moisture is absorbed unless constant pressure is applied such as with a vacuum press.
Hope this helps
best regards

Dan Hintz
04-25-2010, 9:28 AM
The term "veneer" varies from group to group, but when I think of a veneer I'm thinking of a shaved sheet of wood not more than 1/16" in thickness, but usually 1/32" or less. A veneer is simply a covering meant to give the look of one wood type to an object made of a different substance. Personally, I would not consider a 1/8" sheet of plywood as a veneer, I'd consider it as think plywood... though others may disagree.

Tom Bull
04-25-2010, 9:40 AM
I tend to agree with Dan, 1/8 plywood is plywood made of veneer.
If you are thinking of 1/8 solid cherry, for example, as veneer that would be on the extreme of veneer. Usually veneer is sliced off the log, rather than sawn.
If you go the saw/planer route, make sure the planer will adjust down to the thinness you desire.
A planer does make a great laser eraser.:rolleyes:

Lee DeRaud
04-25-2010, 9:59 AM
...perhaps I need to invest in some large tools such as a table saw and a planer and make my own?Bandsaw and drum sander are the tools of choice for this process. Figure on spending a minimum of $1200 for something that will handle hobbyist quantities or $5K+ if you're going to do a lot of it.

Terry Swift
04-29-2010, 6:55 PM
I'm new to the Laser Engraving World and am looking for the sources of thin, laserable (both raster and vector) size.

All help will be greatly appreciated as I'm starting up my business.

George M. Perzel
04-29-2010, 7:14 PM
Hi Terry;
Welcome to the Creek, but please understand that most of us here are not telepathic or possess the ability to understand what you need even if you don't.
"thin laserable" what? plastic, wood, veneer, paper, papyrus (haven't used that one in awhile),etc- should I go on?
I'm not picking on you but there seems to be a lot of new guys asking questions lately that can be easily answered by a little search or research effort. A bit more specificity would be a big help and plenty of folks here willing to help and offer advice.
Best regards;

Michael Hunter
04-30-2010, 5:55 AM
Hi Terry

Making your own thin wood in commercial (not hobby 1-off) quantities needs specialist woodworking equipment and is very labour intensive. By comparison, Laserthins and the like are very good value.
There are specialist companies producing thin planks - look for people producing internal signage for hotels etc. (we have a great supplier here in the UK, but that's not much help to you). They won't be cheap though : expect to pay 10cents per square inch or more for finished wood.
I'd be most surprised if a local joinery company was interested in making planks for you as anything thinner than about 5/16" is a pain on normal planers.

Buying your veneer stock from ebay sound a bit off - OK for bits to play with, but will they be able to supply when you get that mythical "big order"? Better to make a relationship with a proper veneer supply company, even if the prices are a bit higher at first.

Traditional inlay work is done with glue made from boiled cows. There are modern alternatives available but anyone working to high standards will probably still be using the cow glue. There are a few more specialist tools and techniques needed here too.

To get an idea of what you are letting yourself in for, go and buy some marquetry kits from a hobby/craft store. Scan the patterns and cut the veneer on your laser. The end result needs to be absolutely perfect in every way - if it is not, then your potential customers will go for the cheap imported stuff from India and the Phillipines

Terry Swift
04-30-2010, 11:59 AM

My goof. The brain getting ahead of the hands.

I'm looking for thin, laserable wood. All I've found locally at Lowe's or Home Depot is Luan that is not a plywood type material.

I'll check out some more searches and see what I can come up with as in a few threads basswood was mentioned. I don't know how balsa wood would laser and can I get it in wide enough widths?

I appreciate all the reply's and hope to really get up to speed soon, but CorelDraw X4 is really kicking me in the butt. Had some one on one training the other day, but you can olny absorb so much, but was given some great sources on YouTube / Jeff Harrison. Also www.clicknlearn.com (http://www.clicknlearn.com).

James Terry
04-30-2010, 12:24 PM
I think you'll find that balsa and bass woods are too weak for thin items unless you are using them for models of course. I wouldnt cut any production items using those; such as jewelry, ornaments, ...

Martin Boekers
04-30-2010, 12:49 PM
If your just looking for .125 then these guys have quite a selection...


Aslo do a search under Scroll Saw Lumber.
That should turn up a few more.


Mike Null
04-30-2010, 1:10 PM
I've re-ordered George Perzel's thin woods several times. maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany and others. Good stuff.

Bill Humes
04-30-2010, 3:58 PM

Try homecraftveneer.com
getat folks

Bill Humes

George M. Perzel
04-30-2010, 4:06 PM
No harm done= just trying to figure out what you are looking for. Did I understand you to say you found thin luan at HD or Lowes that was not plywood?
HD had some 6" wide aspen, about 1/8" wide-kinda hidden as I recall in a bin.
I do know where you can get some 1/8" walnut, maple, cherry, or jatoba but can't tell you unless you send me a private email.
best regards

Lee DeRaud
04-30-2010, 4:31 PM
HD had some 6" wide aspen, about 1/8" wide-kinda hidden as I recall in a bin.Aspen?!? I've seen poplar there (although 1/4" is the thinnest I recall), but never aspen.

(Come to think of it, I've never seen aspen except in Colorado: "on the hoof", not as lumber.)