Skip to main content



What Makes Your Timber Veneer Quality?

What Makes Your Timber Veneer Quality?

14th Feb 2024

The licensed timber buyers at Walnut Timber Buyers often receive questions from customers like, “what makes your timber veneer quality?” The easiest way to get an evaluation of your timber is to arrange for a free appraisal with our licensed timber buyers. However, we would like to provide you with more information about factors that affect the quality of your timber. There are a several attributes that separate regular sawlogs from veneer logs or low-end veneer logs from high-end veneer logs. We will now define what veneer is. Then, we will review attributes that determine what makes your timber veneer quality to help you plan, grow, and care for trees in your forest.

What Is Veneer?

Veneer is produced when logs are put on a lathe and lengthy, continuous sheets of wood are peeled off the log. These sheets are then glued onto core panels to make flat panels for cabinets, doors, furniture, and flooring. In addition, three or more sheets of veneer can be glued together to create plywood sheets.

Log Form

One of the most important factors determining what makes your timber veneer quality is log form. It plays a crucial role in the production of veneer. For instance, logs that are too large in diameter or too small affect grade and quality. Therefore, ideal logs are 12 inches in diameter or larger for use in veneer sawmills. However, logs that exceed 30 inches in diameter are not desirable because they are too large for the lathe to create veneer. Typically, the length of the log can vary, according to specifications for the use of the veneer being made.

Growth-Ring Consistency

The consistency of the growth rings is another important factor in what makes your timber veneer quality. Veneer made with consistent growth rings has more stability. As a result, it is less likely to twist, warp, or deform due to temperature or humidity changes. Consistent growth rings also play a part in the following benefits:

  • Efficient Manufacturing – Consistent growth rings make it easier to slice the wood, creating less waste. Also, they make it easier to match patterns between different sheets of veneer.
  • Attractive Appearance – The beautiful patterns in wood veneer come from uniform growth rings. In addition, a consistent grain improves the beauty of end products. Plus, growth ring consistency also makes for more seamless transitions between veneer sheets.
  • Enhanced Durability and Strength – Consistent growth rings also contribute to uniform density across a veneer sheet. This is important because denser veneer makes it more suitable for load-bearing usage. In fact, narrower growth rings typically indicate more density in the wood

The Proportion of Heartwood and Sapwood

The next most important factor in what makes your timber veneer quality is its proportion of heartwood to sapwood. This plays a critical role in determining the value and quality of the wood. Here is a comparison of the two:

  • Heartwood
    • This part of the wood is darker colored.
    • It has higher density than sapwood, making it more desirable for load-bearing applications.
    • This part of the wood rarely contains moisture.
    • It has a higher degree of hardness.
    • Market demand and interest is greater for logs with a higher proportion of heartwood.
  • Sapwood
    • This part of the wood is lighter colored.
    • It has less density and weighs less than heartwood.
    • This part of the wood is less durable than heartwood.
    • It contains more moisture.
    • This is softer part of the timber than heartwood.
    • It also has demand in the marketplace but is typically less desirable than heartwood.

Wood Color

The color of the wood also plays an important part in what makes your timber veneer quality. Most home décor relies on wood veneer to enhance the feel and appearance of interior spaces. The right veneer color will make furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and other parts of a home more appealing. Different tree species have distinctive colors used in creating veneer sheets. Common hardwood species used for veneer featuring the following colors:

  • Red oak trees prefer veneer with a reddish-brown tint.
  • Black walnut trees create veneer with chocolate brown color tones.
  • Sugar maple trees are used to make veneer sheets with light, creamy looking colors.
  • White ash trees also produce light-colored veneer with subtle wood grain patterns.


Whether your trees have defects also plays an important part in deciding what makes your timber veneer quality. Insect damage, bird pecks, and gum spots affect the appearance and quality of veneer sheets. For example, bird pecks create dark discolorations in the wood. If your trees do contain some defects, it does not necessarily disqualify them from being used for veneer. It is possible veneer makers can use logs with defects to create interior veneer sheets, hiding the defects underneath the surface layer.

What Makes Your Timber Veneer Quality?

One Last Word

Walnut Timber Buyers is one of the most recommended logging companies in Illinois. Our licensed timber buyers can provide you with a free timber appraisal. During that process, we will walk through your forest and provide you with accurate valuations of the trees you have for sale. That way, you can rest assured that you are receiving the best possible price for your timber. If you would like a free timber appraisal, please fill out our online contact form or call 309-316-7966. We would like to speak with you if you have 20 or more mature trees for sale!

Thank you for your interest in Walnut Timber Buyers. At this time we are only considering projects of 20 or more mature trees. For residential projects and projects of less then 20 trees, please contact your local tree service.