Veneering over veneer?

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Blog entry by Davesfunwoodworking posted 06-29-2008 06:41 AM 8548 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am wondering if you can veneer over veneer plywood? I know if I veneer MDF I have to do both sides. But what about veneering over a plywood veneered board? Any help would be great. Thanks to all who answer. Dave S.

-- Davesfunwoodworking

8 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5214 days

#1 posted 06-29-2008 07:30 AM

If you add another layer of veneer it must run perpendicular the existing final layer. This is just as it is manufactured, every layer runs the opposite direction of the one before it.

The same rule applies for balance as MDF, you must do the other side.

I have had great success veneering both MDF and Baltic Birch plywood.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 5183 days

#2 posted 06-29-2008 04:31 PM

I’ll echo Todd. I’ve thus far been able to do MDF if it is balanced on both sides. I haven’t had an issue adding one layer to plywood and leaving the other side as is. Given I haven’t been woodworking more than 3 years, I must say that there could be a problem that could surface over time. I did Todd’s approach in that I kept to the “weave” approach in making the grain run perp to the previous layer. Good luck.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5094 days

#3 posted 06-29-2008 06:56 PM

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5192 days

#4 posted 06-29-2008 07:12 PM

ok…i understand the perpendicular part—-but why the need to balance by veneering both side of the board…I must be missing something…

so if I build a cabinet…and use plywwood..and want the outside to look nicer with a nice veneer…why do i need to do both sides…

is it a strength issue…or just a “looks” issue (or what)...just currrious…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View joey's profile


396 posts in 5019 days

#5 posted 06-29-2008 07:25 PM

I have always veneered both sides just for balance even when using plywood. although not long ago I veneer some 1/4 plywood with paper backed walnut and I used contacted cement to do it. I used it as the flat panel in some walnut cabinet doors, I only veneer the face and finished both sides of the panel the same day with a seal coat of shellac and the first coat of poly before assembly the doors. That was almost two years ago and I haven’t notice any ill effect to not veneering the back, but to be honest if it wasn’t paper back I would of went a head and veneered the back. I never really pay attention to the direction of the top layer of the plywood since its so thin anyway, I always veneer for the best lay out of the plywood and have never had a problem
If it was me I would think how your piece is going together is veneering the one side going to cause the plywood to bow up or are you going to use it where some other part will hold it flat and if you are not sure be safe and veneer both sides just get some cheaper veneer for that side and use it to hone your skill before you do the money side.
hope that help joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View joey's profile


396 posts in 5019 days

#6 posted 06-29-2008 07:39 PM

You veneer both sides because the glue you use acts like a finish and creates an imbalance’s in the way the plywood absorbs and releases moisture, so if you just veneer the one side, the side that doesn’t have veneer will release or absorbs more moisture causing your plywood to bow or warp, just like painting or finishing one side can.

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5214 days

#7 posted 06-29-2008 09:08 PM

I have a veneer sample on 3/4” particle board. It is veneered on one side only. The back side is the swelled side and the veneered face is the cupped side.

Normally, I use a cheaper veneer for the balance sheet but it is the same thickness.

I would admit that, on some projects, veneering the backside will not be necessary because the structure will override the imbalanced tendencies. In Joey’s situation, the frame of the door may be doing this suitably. Maybe the panel is not moving at all.

In my own shop, I have seen warped panels in just one day until I veneered the opposite side. I am trying to make money and I bid it to do the right way or the way that I can properly guarantee. It would cost me too much money to have a call-back for most of my projects. For a project in my own house I would be game to see what would happen if I did not veneer both sides.

I use Unibond 800 a urea resin for my veneer work. It has a long open time and no creep. It is absolutely waterproof when dry and will not melt due to solvents penetrating the veneer.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5361 days

#8 posted 06-30-2008 03:10 PM

All good info Todd, thanks.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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