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A guide to timber veneer

Timber veneer options explained

Every tree is different so every veneer product has a unique appearance. The same tree can never be found twice in nature. This also means that the colour and pattern can vary within the same wood species. After all, veneer is real wood and not an imitation like laminate or melamine. The latter are both imitations of wood on paper.

The colour of timber veneers are also influenced by light in the room and this can give the wood an even warmer feel. The numerous imitations of different wood types have made it difficult for the consumer to distinguish the real natural product from the imitations.

The wood structure which is unique for every piece of wood veneer, the colour which continues to enhance the appearance, the ability to repair and renovate are just some of the advantages that distinguish the real thing from the would-be products.


  • How veneer is made
  • Veneer types
  • Veneer cuts
  • Veneer layups/jointing techniques
  • Timber grades
  • Veneer faces
  • Textures
  • Grain direction
  • Panel Substrates
  • Environmental considerations
  • Finishing & Edging
  • Limitations
  • Care & Warranty
  • Bespoke Veneer
  • Sampling
  • How to order/buy?

How veneer is made

Veneer is a thin slice of leaf, usually around .55mm or less, which is glued onto a substrate such as MDF (medium density fibreboard) or ply to create a usable panel for joinery purposes.

Veneer is produced by either slicing the trunk of a tree or by slicing large rectangular blocks of wood known as flitches. The appearance of the grain in timber comes from slicing through the growth rings of a tree and depends upon the angle at which the timber is sliced.

Turning raw veneer into a veneer panel

  • Timber is sliced into veneer flitches and joined to make a full sheet
  • The veneer sheet is then glued onto a substrate and proceeds through a dryer to cure the glue
  • The sheet is then trimmed and lightly sanded

One of the primary advantages of veneer over solid wood is its stability. Solid wood is prone to warping and splitting, but veneer is made up of thin layers of wood that are glued together, which reduces the chances of splitting and cracking. Furthermore, the glue used adds strength to the final product, making it stronger than natural wood making it perfect for making furniture and cabinetry.

Veneer types

When you’re selecting veneers, you’ll have in mind the design style you want to create. There are three distinct Veneer Collections available at VidaSpace.

Prefinished Smoked Walnut Timber Veneer Panels

Shinnoki Prefinished Veneer

A collection of prefinished timber veneer panels, perfect for architects and cabinet makers to design and create stylish and distinctive interiors in both commercial and residential applications. Shinnoki wood veneer panels are ready and easy to use with huge time and cost savings, but with the same unique look and feel that is typical for real timber veneer. Thanks to the mix-matching technique and industrial processing Shinnoki veneer guarantees consistent colours and quality.

View Shinnoki Collection

Unfinished European Oak Veneer Panels

Querkus Natural Oak Veneer

Querkus is a collection of unfinished decorative oak veneer panels. Every veneer panel produced is unique, where the oak veneer is handled creatively and with the utmost respect. The unique production processes capture and enhance the beauty, colour, markings and structure of a solid board, and combine these with the many advantages of a timber veneer panel. Querkus veneer tells a story of quality, respect and craftmanship, offering every interior an individual, distinctive atmosphere.

View Querkus Collection

The Different Veneer Cuts

The appearance of the timber veneer sheet is determined by the way we slice the timber and join the pieces together. Below are 4 frequently used slicing methods.

Wood Veneer Slicing Techniques

Crown Cut Veneer

Flame pattern by cutting through the heart of the log.

Quarter Cut Veneer

Straight-grained, cut at right angles to the growth rings.

Quarter Rift Cut

Straight-grained pattern by rotating the tree around its axis, cutting perpendicular to the growth rings under a certain angle.

Recut & Recon Veneer

Pre-sliced timber veneer leaves are laminated together into an engineered log and sliced again.

The different veneer lay-ups/jointing techniques

Using advanced technology, we are able to join the sliced timber into a veneer sheet. The images below show the different techniques that we apply. This allows you to decide on the final look and feel of your panel. You can make the optimal choice for your application. Whatever you choose: real timber is always unique and gives your project that extra character.

different timber veneer lay-ups/jointing techniques

Mixmatched/Planked Veneer

Mix-matched is literally what it says: mixing and matching. The veneer strips are jointed randomly with variations in colour and structure, creating an interesting yet cohesive effect. Mix-matched is the veneer alternative for the plank effect of solid wood. It is possible to create a mix of both crown cut and quarter cut, or use crown cut only or quarter cut only.

Book Matched Veneer

This is the standard jointing method. The sliced strips of timber veneer are jointed mirrored, two by two. This technique clearly shows the pattern variations of the tree in the jointed sheet.

Slip Matched Veneer

The veneer strips are matched one after the other and then jointed. This is the recommended jointing technique if the veneer should be stained. As all strips have the same side up, there is no colour difference between the strips.

Reverse Slip Matched Veneer

The veneer is more evenly spread throughout the veneer sheet due to the head-to-head combination.

Timber Grades

Part of the beauty of timber is that each and every plank is unique, so our criteria is merely a guide.


Typically, prime grade has few, if any knots, and these will be of minimal size. There will be a relatively small amount of colour variation in the timber itself.


Typically, character grade will include both heartwood and sapwood and allows a wider range of colour variation. Knots are larger and you should expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings).


Known as either natural or rustic grade this allows a virtually limitless size and number of knots. Heartwood will be used, there will be colour variation, and sapwood; you should also expect checks (cracks across the growth ring) and possibly some end shake (cracks between the rings).

Veneer Faces

The choice of veneer faces will be determined by where it will be installed and how much of the veneer will be seen. A veneer panel must always have a backing veneer in similar thickness to the front face to avoid bowing or skewing which would occur if a different material was used or has a veneer only applied to the front face.


Single-Sided will have an A grade veneer on the visible (front) face with the reverse (Back) face being a B Grade which can have large grain and colour variations. For Shinnoki panels the Reverse face will feature a recon veneer with a matching tone to the front face.


Doubled-Sided means there is an A grade veneer on both sides of the substrate.


Natural oak veneer distinguishes itself from other types of timber and plastic alternatives by its special wood design and grain structure. This can be further accentuated by applying surface treatments.


These panels are pre-sanded as standard with 120 grit. The panels require further sanding after which you can apply a creative finish or use them in their natural beauty after applying an oil or lacquer.


A brushed surface does justice to the natural wood structure. Brushed type B1: the soft summer wood is given a subtle and light brush treatment.


Creates authenticity by applying unique patterns to the surface. Band sawn effects created on the surface using a patented procedure. By scratching the veneer the surface gets a rough sawn structure and gives the panel a solid look.

Grain Direction

A simple design decision but one that influences how many sheets will be required to complete a project.

Vertical Timber Grain

Long Grain

Also know as a vertical grain

Cross Grain

Also known as a horizontal grain

Veneer Panel Substrates

Veneer flitches can be pressed onto a range of substrate options and thicknesses. It’s a decision where the function and environment very much determine the choice of substrate and its thickness.


This substrate is the most commonly used as it’s suitable for most applications. A heavier weight than particleboard and low formaldehyde.


This moisture-resistant MDF panel has been developed specifically for commercial & residential applications. All VidaSpace Veneer is stocked in an MR MDF core.


This fire-resistant MDF panel has been developed specifically for commercial applications.

Birch Plywood

This is a strong plywood, popular for its stunning multi-ply edge, making it a good choice if an exposed edge is required.

Particle Board

Particle board, also known as chipboard is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood chips and a synthetic resin, which is pressed and extruded. Very susceptible to expansion and discoloration from moisture absorption.

Environmental Considerations for Veneers

We don’t just pay lip service. We are leading the way in the New Zealand veneer market with third-party environmental accreditations including, FSC, and PureWood We choose to partner with reputable manufacturers that share our values – caring for forests, communities and their futures.

Globally Sourced Veneers

All our veneers come from reputable global suppliers with independently verifiable sustainability accreditation. Our directors have personally visited all our veneer suppliers and are constantly reviewing their quality and delivery performance.

FSC Certified

VidaSpace has held chain-of-custody certification with auditor SGS from its inception. FSC Certification is a global third-party certification that ensures products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits. VidaSpace FSC CoC Certification: SGSHK-COC-510010.


Our supply partners have their own stringent internal standards of responsible sourcing and manufacturing practices that do not do harm to others or the environment. The Pure Wood Charter outlines 10 principles, that all of their suppliers must sign.

Learn more about our Environmental and Sustainability Goals

Finishing & Edging

All VidaSpace unfinished veneer panels MUST BE sanded before any coating is applied.

All VidaSpace unfinished Veneer (Querkus) will need to be sanded and coated after manufacture and failure to do so will void any warranty. We recommend using a non-yellowing coating system, and in high natural light situations, the use of UV inhibitors within the coating system should also be considered. Always consult your coating supplier for their recommendation on a suitable coating system.

Matching edging is available for all VidaSpace veneers – please refer to our product pages on our website.

Premium Wood Oil

Each veneer panel should be treated to protect the surface against damage or stains. Premium Wood Oil penetrates into the wood and gives the veneer surface a natural look with a warm, pleasant feeling. This finish retains the grain of the wood and offers sufficient protection against stains. Does not contain UV blockers, the wood will always discolour naturally over time. MUST NOT be used for applications in contact with food.

Timber Edging

These are supplied unglued and unfinished for the Querkus Collection – in different thickness options where a solid look and panel protection is required or for aesthetics only.

The Prefinished Shinnoki Timber Edging is supplied unglued – Available in a 0.6mm x 100 meters roll and can be selected in either 24mm or 48mm wide.

ABS Edging

The Prefinished Shinnoki ABS Edging is supplied unglued – Available in a 1mm x 50 meters roll and can be selected in either 24mm or 48mm wide. ABS is perfect for higher-use areas like cabinetry.

Limitations of Veneer

All three of VidaSpace’s Veneer ranges are made from genuine timber. Just as any timber product can change colour due to ultra violet (UV) light, VidaSpace Veneer can also be affected. A change in colour or tone is therefore considered a natural characteristic, not a defect.

Our Veneer is not suitable for use in exterior applications or where ambient environmental moisture content is likely to be elevated for extended periods such as interior swimming pools, saunas or industrial wet areas. In environments with exposure to direct or reflected sunlight, we strongly advise the use of sun blinds and protective UV film or glazings.

Shinnoki/Querkus/Nordus is not suitable for high-wear applications such bench tops, counters or tabletops.

Due to the natural variations in colour and grain found in timber, each panel is different therefore your sample should be treated as indicative of that product.

VidaSpace unfinished veneer from the Querkus collection must be sanded before being finished by an experienced tradesman and use a reputable coating.

Please discuss the suitability of veneer in projects you’re unsure about with our team members.

Care & Warranty

VidaSpace is unable to provide care and maintenance recommendations for Querkus veneer due to the product requiring additional finishing that is added after production. Please seek the advice of your joiner or coating supplier.

Prefinished Shinnoki Veneer care and maintenance recommendations can be found on our website. Includes daily maintenance along with how to repair small marks.

We offer a 7 year warranty on all our veneers – subject to normal use conditions. To view a full copy of the warranty, please download it from our website at

View Veneer Warranty

Bespoke Veneer

From over 50 different species, 11 different texture options, veneer thicknesses from 0.6mm to 2mm and unfinished through to bespoke colour prefinished panels, there are 1000’s of options. Flexible veneers, different panel thicknesses and environmental certifications are just some of the ways we can customise veneers for your project.

Get in touch with our team to find out what we can offer from small boutique projects to large commercial volumes.

Contact our team


timber flooring and veneer samples for architects and interior designers

You can view our entire colour range, order samples and view or download technical documents online.

At VidaSpace we offer a comprehensive, free sample service. This includes complimentary Veneer hand samples or Fan Decks for Designers, Architects, and Joiners.

How to order/buy?

If you’re a design professional or Joiner wanting to order veneers, please contact one of our Specification consultants – details of our team can be found here:

Or Email or call us at 0800 119 388

Explore our Timber Veneer Panels

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