Veneering is a relatively simple and cheap way of getting impressive looking results. Veneering was used already in the ancient Egypt. Some of the most beautiful examples of veneering can be seen in the baroque and rococo furniture made during the Renaissance. But veneering is still used today and if you are into woodworking, you can save a lot of money by learning veneering.
Veneering means that you use cheap wood and cover the visible parts with a thin layer of veneer. This makes it possible to create impressive looking furniture and other items without spending a lot of money.
There are a number of different veneering methods, some of them require very expensive equipment but it is also possible to use cheap and simple tools and still get good results. Veneer is available in a lot of different materials, some of them are thinner than 1/100 of an inch. Since veneer is thin, a lot of a log can be used and very little wood is wasted. Another advantage of veneering is that generally the best logs are used to create veneer.
Logs are cut into veneer using three different methods, flat slicing, rotary cutting and saw cutting. Wide veneer is typically created using rotary cut while long pieces are best made using flat slicing. Saw cutting is not as efficient as the other two methods but is used for irregularly grained and dense woods.
There are a lot of ways of applying veneer. Using a mechanical or hydraulic pressure for applying veneer is the best solution for workshops but such presses are too large and expensive for home use. For smaller panels, veneer clamps can be used together with cold press veneer glue.
Hammer veneering is the classic way of applying veneer. A veneer hammer is used to press the veneer sheets into their place. Hide glue which is heat sensitive is used to keep the veneer sheets in place. One advantage is that the glue can be re-heated to correct any mistakes. This method has been used for thousands of years so it is safe to say that it has passed the test of time.
Instead of using glue, you can use contact cement or paper-backed veneer (also called peel and stick veneers) but note that you can not re-position the veneer afterwards so make sure that you get into the right place.
Whatever method you are using to apply the veneer, you need to trim and cut the veneer sheets. A veneer saw is used for this, it has a curved blade and an offset handle. If you are applying more than one sheet of veneer to a panel, tape them together using special veneer tape and before gluing them together onto the panel.