Sustainable Timber Veneers

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Timber veneers are appreciated for their beauty but it’s often overlooked that specifying veneers is one of the most sustainable ways to use wood products.

Decorative veneers for high quality appearance uses are sliced, while veneers for plywood production are generally rotary peeled. In both cases, one log goes a long way.

A German study of the yield of sliced veneer from beech trees found that an average 841 square metres of veneer was produced from every cubic metre of wood. This was based on a veneer thickness of 0.55mm. Other yields may be higher, depending on the quality of the log and the percentage of waste.

Clearly, bonding thin slices of timber (veneers) to stable substrates produces a material with all the positive features of solid timber, at the same time making the best use of available resources.

While veneer production maximises the amount of decorative material obtainable from a log, the log itself must be sustainably sourced. Several certification schemes operate to monitor Chain of Custody whereby the source of a wood product can be traced, primarily the following:
• The Australian Forestry Standard (AFS),
• The Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
• The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification program.

In addition, the Timber Veneer Association and its members are co-operating with Australian Government moves to refine due diligence requirements, aimed at ensuring products derived from illegal logging do not enter the country.

When sustainably produced timber veneers are bonded to a particleboard or MDF substrate with E1 or better formaldehyde emission properties, the result is a truly eco-friendly product.

For specifiers seeking to maximise Green Star points, timber veneered panels fit well with the Green Building Council of Australia’s focus on indoor environmental quality and the environmental impact of building materials.

A guide to the specification of timber veneers, simply titled Veneer, is available free of charge through the TVAA’s inquiry service at


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