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Veneers are poor-man's option for solid wood furniture. And they are definitely amongst the most expensive options for finishing furniture work, especially if one were to factor in the costs of polishing as well!!
Veneers are very thin slices of wood, obtained by peeling timber logs on cutting machines. Veneers are typically no more than 0.5-1.0 mm thick, but to increase their durability and for the ease of transportation, typically a plywood backing is given, so the total thickness becomes 4.0 mm. In terms of application, veneers are quite easy to use and can be pasted on the furniture using commonly available wood working adhesives and masking tapes. Veneers are typically available in sheets of size 8 feet x 4 feet.
Veneers, being a natural product, give a natural woody feel to your furniture. There are generally two types of veneers available in the market, natural veneers and artificial/reconstituted veneers. Natural veneers, as the name suggests, are pure and natural form of veneers obtained from timber barks. Typically, most of the natural timber is grouped i.e. available in sets of 14 or 16 or 18 or 20 sheets. All the veneer sheets in the same grouping would have the same grain pattern, hence it is best advised to select veneers from the same grouping for a uniform look to your furniture. There are many kinds of good looking wood veneers obtained from different trees. e.g. teak, cherry, oak, maple etc. Apart from the source of timber, veneers generally also vary by the cut i.e. the method using for making veneers from logs and the veneer finish. By veneer finish, it is meant that any special effect given to veneer like cracked, smoked, fumed etc.
A popular veneers type these days is recon veneers. These are artificial veneers in which basically the thin slices of wood obtained from timber logs are dyed and suitable staining done to give a very uniform and precise look to the veneer sheets. Generally, recon veneers tend to be much cheaper compared to natural veneers and can be also bought in bulk.
You can see and buy the entire range of recon veneers here.