Wood veneer is produced by veneer manufacturers in a variety of “industry standard” thicknesses. The slicing process is controlled by a number of variables. The thickness of the raw veneer has little bearing on the ultimate quality of the end product so long as show-through and sand-through is avoided.
Species: Available in many domestic and imported wood species.
Cut: Normally cut as plain sliced. Rift sliced and quarter sliced available in certain species at additional cost. Some species available as rotary cut.
Species: Most common is Douglas-fir; Pines are available; other softwoods in limited supply.
Cut: Most softwood veneer is Rotary cut. Plain sliced softwood veneer and “vertical grain” (quarter sliced) softwood veneer are limited in availability with the long lead times and higher prices associated with special orders.
Decorative Laminates, Overlays, and Prefinished Panel Products
Decorative surfacing materials are often applied to wood product substrates such as industrial particleboard, fiberboard, hardboard, etc.. Terminology and definitions of these overlay products follow, broadly grouped as:
Thermoset Decorative Overlay
Decorative thermally fused panels flat pressed from a thermoset polyester or melamine resin-impregnated web. Most products are pre-laminated to
Industrial Particleboard or Medium Density Fiberboard substrates when they arrive at the woodwork fabricator. Performance characteristics are similar
to High Pressure Decorative Laminate.
Medium Density Overlays
Pressed resin-impregnated paper overlays, highly resistant to moisture, applied to suitable cores for both interior and exterior uses. The seamless panel face and uniform density furnishes a sound base for opaque finishes and paint.
Semirigid sheet or roll stock extruded from a nonporous acrylic/polyvinyl chloride (PVC) alloy solid color throughout. Withstands high impact. Minor scratches and gouges are less conspicuous due to the solid color. Thickness ranges from 0.7 mm [.028"] to 6.4 mm [.250"]. Not recommended for horizontal surfaces where hot items may be placed and in areas near heat sources.
High Pressure Decorative Laminates
Resin-impregnated kraft paper substrates with decorative plastic face materials and a clear protective top sheet, formed under heat and pressure. The assembly offers resistance to wear and many common stains and chemicals. Common uses include casework exteriors, countertops, and wall paneling.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film, either clear or solid color, used extensively for decorative vertical surfaces in mobile homes, recreational vehicles, commercial panels and movable walls. Product thicknesses range from 0.5 mm to 8 mm. Some films are available with scuff-resistant top coatings. (Of limited use in custom architectural woodworking.)