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Veneering in woodworking is not new, it has been around in one form or another for centuries. It has been practiced by woodworkers in many different parts of the world, often as smaller pieces, for inlays, accents and other features. Today, we have an amazing breadth of wood species to choose from, from almost any exotic hardwood you can imagine, to figure woods and burls that are spectacular. With all the varieties and figured wood veneers that are available now, anyone who wants to take the time to learn veneering can turn out wood projects that are truly works of art.
There are basically three kinds of veneering, the oldest form and the one we are going to spend the most time on here, is called cold veneering, where veneer strips are glued to a substrate or base. Also becoming quite popular are is veneering where a glue has been applied to the back of the veneer and it can be attached to the substrate by simply by peeling off a plastic or waxy backing and then sticking the veneer on to the substrate. This is called Pressure Veneering and only requires a type of blade or edge to smooth the veneer out over the substrate and is ideal for smaller projects. The third kind of veneering is done by using a veneer with a heat activated glue pre-applied to the back of the veneer, and is called Heat Activated Veneering. In this case the veneer is laid on the substrate material and something a simple as a household iron is used to attach the veneer to the substrate.
All of these methods of veneering work well, not all of them in the same situations, and that is why there are different kinds ... because some work better in one instance while another works better somewhere else. Any of the pre-applied glue veneers are more costly than raw veneers and the choices of veneers is far less with the pre-applied glue types. For larger veneering projects and where ongoing veneering is the norm, the cold veneering with raw veneers is easily the most effective and preferred method. Other types are normally more suited for smaller projects.