How is Wood Veneer Made?

We have long championed the benefits of wood veneer, and its natural beauty, but would you be interested to learn precisely how wood veneer is made? Let’s explore this very interesting process, step by step.

Step 1: Debarking

Once a tree has been selected and felled, the first step is debarking. This is done using a specially designed machine that very carefully strips all the bark off the wood, without damaging the core.

Step 2: Softening

The next step is to bring the log up to a high moisture content. This softens the wood, preventing it from tearing during the next process.

The softening process is usually done using steam and soaking. Once this is complete and the required level is reached, the logs are cut to the required size, ready for the next stage.

Step 3: Peeling

This next step involves peeling or slicing the log. There are various wood veneer slicing methods, each of which produces a different effect. Veneer peeling is a craft that brings out the very best of the wood’s grain and texture.

Rotary cutting involves the use of a large motorised machine that spins that log against a knife, much like a giant apple peeler. The lathe rotates the log, peeling off a thin slice as it goes.


Rift cutting is a bit like rotary cutting, but the log is first cut lengthways into four. Each quarter is then mounted slightly off-centre on the lathe, then rotated against the knife.


Quarter cutting is a different process. Here, the log is placed into a veneer slicer, much like a deli meat slicer. The log is run backwards and forwards across the blade to produce thin slices.


Flat cutting sees the blade passing straight over the log from one side to the other, with the resulting veneer slices presenting the crown.


All these cutting methods produce the same thickness and quality of wood veneer, it’s just the pattern of the grain varies.

Step 4: Drying

The sliced veneers then need to be run through a large dryer. This makes certain that they dry flat and evenly. When dry, the veneer sheets are stacked into bundles.

Step 5: Clipping, cutting and gluing

The wood veneer bundles are then clipped to the required length, then trimmed into consistent widths ready for gluing.

The trimmed wood veneer sheets are then put through a gluing machine that bonds them edge-to-edge so that full sized sheets are produced. The sheets are now ready to be applied to a substrate and crafted into panels, doors and furniture.

Natural wood veneer from your Essex based veneer experts

At Read Veneers we have been working at the heart of the wood veneer industry for almost three decades, serving woodworkers, joiners, kitchen and interior designers, contractors and fit-out specialists with a range of wood veneer preparation and production services.

We are also able to offer expert advice on selecting the perfect veneer species and type of veneer cut to suit your particular project.

You are welcome to give us a call on 01277 811 771 or get in touch for more information on our natural wood veneer services.