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All about Veneers

The Good, the Bad, and the Warped

When you see the term "veneer," do you find it a turnoff? It's time to revisit the reputation that veneers on furniture and cabinetry have had over the past few decades. Sure, there are still some things I'd recommend avoiding, but there are some instances when this light outer layering over wood and other products can be a bonus.

Why is Veneering Good?

Veneers, if applied correctly, can add beauty to lower end wood furniture pieces. In some cases, the woods used for veneers might not perform as well if they were produced as thicker planks. With a fine layer, however, they can provide exquisite burls, stunning patterns, and matched graining on otherwise plain wood surfaces. This technique has been in use for centuries to produce finer pieces.

Over wood composites and even solids, veneers are also environmentally friendly. A single slab can produce thinner sheets to cover multiple pieces of furniture. Plus, they can be used over a variety of composite materials including plywood, MDF (medium density fiberboard), and particle board.

What Makes Veneer Bad?

Paper thin veneers - some are wood and some are other products - can cause trouble sooner or later. They may bubble or warp and if they become nicked are difficult, if not impossible to repair. The worst of the worst? Perhaps it's the paper laminates with wood graining. Some of you will remember when they used to come in rolls. Today, they're resurfacing as veneers on office and home furnishings. Not a good thing.

Keep in mind that shopping for furniture and choosing cabinetry takes a little research. Take a "know-before-you-go" approach and you'll have better success in finding pieces to suit your own budget and lifestyle.