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Veneering vs. plywood10/8
For flat panels, is there any quality advantage of veneering panels vs. Colombia plywood (assuming Colombia offers the required species and cut)? Are the plywood veneers typically thinner than veneer sheets? Anything else?
Custom veneering costs a lot more, but provides complete control over color and grain matching. Veneering after banding and using same flitch edging provides a higher end product.
Most veneer is pretty darn thin. With standard veneer (thick stuff is exponentially more expensive) you might gain a bit of thickness, but not much.
With plywood, especially any kind of wood core, the veneer surface is not going to be super flat. You can minimize it by going with an MDF or combination core product.
You can often get sequenced sheets of ply where the veneer is from the same flitch, and get decent matching.
But like Dave said, nothing beats custom veneered panels for those high end jobs.
I gave up on staining veneered plywood, too many pieces had to be remade from bad spots that went unnoticed until it got staned. Now I only use mdf core veneered panels, or press myself on mdf for stained panels.
Not all plywoods are equal. Columbia makes a good product, but beware of the cheap "off-shore" stuff. Some of it has what is termed "thin face veneers" which means the veneer face and back are 1/100th of an inch thick or less. It costs a lot less, but don't try to use it in a visible application, especially if you plan to stain it. You'll end up throwing out a large percentage for blotchy areas (usually from glue bleed thru of the thin veneers). You get what you pay for!
If you want to do it yourself, make sure you have someone with experience in the processes and materials. There is a learned curve and it can be very expensive and frustrating learning by "trial & error".
I think you are talking about two totally different things here. We use custom veneered panels for projects that spec them. Typically corporate board rooms, grand entry points, etc. The stock panels will do for many jobs where cost is a factor. If you order full units you will often get sequenced sheets. Those can work but the layup will be to minimize the cost not for the aesthetics. Stay away from plywood veneered panels if trying for a quality look.
Veenering sheets are compatible to your woodwork and paint but these are very costly as compared to the plywood. It is better to use veenering sheets if you have no limists to spend....
"Veenering sheets": Are these the typically 4x8 (1.2x4.4) paper backed sheets of veneer you are talking about? If so how does the typical small shop lay them? The disadvantage for high end work is they are not architectural match (unless you have them custom made.)