Another common decorative surface type used in the lamination industry is natural wood veneer. Veneers are available in a variety of wood species, both domestic and imported. Composite panels, like particleboard and MDF, are the preferred substrate for veneers due to their superior surface qualities of being flat, smooth, uniform, dense and free of knots and grain patterns. In addition, their dimensional stability, strength properties and cost advantages further increase the advantages of using these substrates.
The veneers are thinly sliced between 1/50” to 1/25” (0.51 to 1.0 mm) and are available plain or with a paper or fleece backer that has varying degrees of flexibility. The backers provide stability and strength to the veneer and minimize splintering, cracking and checking. Veneered composite panel constructions are used in many applications including high quality furniture, case goods, store fixtures and cabinetry. Some veneers are used for profile wrapping, typically over MDF, for high end millwork applications.
Veneers can be overlaid with either heat activated resins or cold pressed. The main resin used in hot press systems is a urea-based adhesive due to its ability to make the panel more rigid, faster processing parameters and lower cost base. Another hot press resin system that is increasingly used is a soy-based resin. Cold press systems typically use polyvinyl acetates, casein and contact adhesives. These systems are used for smaller production quantities and may be less rigid than heat activated resin systems.