There are a lot of people who don’t know the difference between solid wood and a wood veneer. You may have seen something with a wood veneer and thought it was real, solid wood. But solid wood and veneer are not one and the same; what’s the difference?
What is a solid wood?
Solid wood is often a higher quality and more expensive product than one that has a veneer. It is a wood product that is the same all the way through. Solid wood looks attractive without a veneer to cover it.
What is a veneer?
A veneer is a thin covering that is applied to the surface of an item to conceal its actual appearance. Veneer is generally more attractive than the object it conceals, and is most often used to improve aesthetic appeal or to improve value of the object. It is mainly used in woodworking, but veneer may also be used in stonework, masonry, and even in dentistry.
Properties of wood veneer
Wood veneer is simply a covering that is made to look like solid wood. It is a layer of wood less than an eighth-inch thick, which is glued onto particleboard, fiberboard, or wood to create doors, cabinets, and various types of furniture. Veneer–in woodworking–is created by slicing a tree trunk to obtain a sheet of the wood. This process can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who actually used wood veneer to cover objects.
Types of wood veneer
You have several different types of wood veneer to choose from: raw, paper-backed, and phenolic-backed veneer. Each type has its own properties–raw veneer has no backing and can be glued on either side; paper-backed veneer has a paper backing and is available in various sizes for covering small areas and curves; and phenolic-backed is a man-made veneer that is becoming more popular to help preserve natural resources.
How can you tell whether a product is solid wood or veneer?
If you are buying a new piece of furniture, ask a salesperson whether it is completely solid, fully veneered, or part solid and part veneered. If you already own the piece, take a look at the object for signs of veneer, which would be a thin layer around the edges, tops, panels, and so on. Look under the object–does it look like the same wood as the top? Also, check inside the drawers for signs of veneer.
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