veneer (vənērˈ) [key], thin leaf of wood applied with glue to a panel or frame of solid wood. The art of veneer developed with early civilization. It produces richly grained effects cheaply and is used also on structural parts that must be cut with the grain for strength. The grain pattern varies with the direction of the cut, woods cut across the grain in general displaying more effective patterns, e.g., burr and oyster walnut, bird's-eye maple. Rosewood, satinwood, maple, walnut, and mahogany are frequently employed for veneers. Hand-cut veneers were 1/10 to 1/8 in. thick; the modern machine-cut sheets are rarely thicker than 1/32 in. Veneering executed in inlaid sheets is known as marquetry. Plywood and beams or planks of compounded woods are developed by a veneering process.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.