Veneer Production

From tree to noble surface.

Veneer production using peeling or slicing machines is the most economical and ecological technique for producing high-quality real wood surfaces. Different types of production can produce different veneer patterns that make a veneer log shine even more uniquely and to a higher quality. Veneer production requires not only a lot of experience and skill, but also a large number of large machines.

When a log is felled in the forest, the buyer marks the purchased timber accordingly in order to identify it as the purchased logs upon delivery. Here we are talking about tags that are cut into the wood, mostly at the foot, to enable a clear identification. The selected logs are then, depending on their origin, transported by rail or ship and/or truck to the veneer factory and delivered.

After arrival at the factory, the logs are stacked tightly between stacks and kept wet (watered) until the desired start of production. This is necessary in order to protect the wood from cracking and splitting especially in the warmer months. If we do not do this stains will form at the ends of the logs which causes dis-colourations in the wood which are clearly visible on the veneer later and considerably reduce the value of a high-quality veneer log, as this can no longer be used as top quality veneer. The protection of the round logs is an key factor. In the case of particularly valuable woods, the ends of the trunks are also waxed with paraffin to provide longer protection. However, there is no 100 % and permanent protection, therefore veneer producers try to react to appropriate conditions and in the coldest possible months to produce the light coloured woods with priority.

Before the log enters the veneer production process, it is dressed. The log is examined and a decision is made as to how it is to be produced, which technique is to be used, in which lengths and where the log is to be cut. In this area you need a lot of experience and knowledge because a wrong decision here can make the most beautiful trunk look inferior. This professional assessment is the basis for the best possible quality and therefore determines the later use of the produced veneer. Decision criteria include growth characteristics, dimension, straightness, and heart rupture. Logs longer than 10m are not uncommon.

Now the machine processing of the log and the production of the veneer begins. First the log is cut to length, which means it is sawn to the desired length. Each of these parts is measured and given a new factory number. The measurement is the basis of the knife calculation to the customer, which is settled over the measured m³. The factory number is a unique identification number of the log. This number is retained by the customer until the woodworking industry uses it to make high-quality furniture. This creates an undoubted and seamless chain for the recognition of the individual veneer packages of each tree right back to the original location in the forest. As a credited member of FSC we do this automatically to keep the chain of custody

The entire log is then debarked and cut on a log bandsaw. Depending on the desired veneer pattern and the diameter of the log, half, third or quartered log parts, so-called flitches, are produced. The logs are only processed as a whole in the round peeling process, such as the peeling birch process.

The logs and trunk parts are then placed in large steel basins full of water for cooking and steaming. This achieves two important effects. On the one hand the wood is soaked to produce a high-quality cut, on the other hand the colour is determined here with many woods. The beech, for example, is very light and whitish at the beginning and gets its typical light brownish tone only by longer steaming. Similar to a good cook in the kitchen, who does not like giving their secret recipes away there is an art and a secret in producing good quality veneer logs. For example how long and at what temperature and which type of wood is cooked or steamed. The cooking and steaming process in the tanks (so-called steaming pits) can vary greatly, from a few hours to get the wood only supple for slicing, up to several days. Cooking too long can also reduce the value of the wood. In the case of ash and maple for example, wood that has been cooked for far too long will have an undesirable, clearly reddish colour.

After the steam pits, the individual trunk parts are planed flat by a block planing machine in order to ensure that they later rest as perfectly as possible on the vertical knife table (support table).