Veneer Balancing Issues

Fine points of pairing veneer types for a balanced layup. March 26, 2009

Does anyone have a good online source or good book idea that deals with veneering, especially about proper balancing veneers considering thickness and the kind of veneers?

Forum Responses
(Veneer Forum)
From contributor Y:
The simple answer to balance the substrate is to do the same thing on both sides. You can put different kinds of veneers on each side without any problem, if you only need it G1S for example. At that point, also remember that both sides must be finished the same way as well.

From contributor J:
I agree with contributor Y up to a point. You can balance your panels with less expensive veneers, but only if they are plain sliced or have very little figure. Crotches, burls, stump wood or very heavily figured woods have a different tension when pressed. If you would press carpathian burled elm I wouldn’t put poplar or oak on the back. I’ve seen them warp like crazy.

From contributor Y:
Thanks contributor J for the clarification. I've never seen that happen as I don't usually work with burls or other heavily figured veneers.

From the original questioner:
What would you use to balance figured anigree or quartered figured makore? Does thicker or thinner balancing veneer have any impact?

From contributor J:
I have pressed both of these woods before. On the anigre I have always used the same anigre on the back. I have gotten away with using cherry on the back of makore with wonderful results.

From contributor O:
In addition to balancing, it is also best if you cross band your face veneers with a backing veneer over your substrate and beneath the face veneer. This creates a panel similar to plywood with layers being alternated at 90 degrees to one another. I typically use poplar veneers for cross banding and balancing the back face. By doing this it eliminates the need to use expensive and rare veneers on the backside if it not required in the design. This also reduces micro cracking that can occur in crotch and burl veneers long after the glue has fully cured. I would also recommend using a two part resin/hardener glue designed for veneering or cold pressing. I use Unibond 800. It is available from I like it because it has a long open time, a relatively quick press time which can be controlled through temperature or the ratio of the glue mixture. It also allows minimal cold creep and contains no water so the veneer does not expand upon contact with the glue, which is a necessary feature when doing large panels.