Veneer can be sliced or cut from different sections of the log: from the heartwood or innermost portion, from the sapwood or outer layer, or from a combination of both heartwood and sapwood. When these veneers are composed into full sheets, the manner in which they are matched, the part of the log from which they come and their relative appearance determine the general classifications.
A select veneer is composed entirely of heartwood or sapwood and is matched for both grain pattern and color.
A uniform veneer is also composed entirely of heartwood or sapwood but is matched for color only.
A natural veneer is composed of both heartwood and sapwood. Select or uniform heartwood veneers are usually more expensive than all their sapwood counterparts since heartwood forms the smallest portion of the tree. Because natural veneers are a combination of both heartwood and sapwood, they are generally the least expensive of the three.
PAINT GRADE VENEER
A paint grade veneer is one which has a smooth enough finish so none of the grain pattern or natural characteristics of the wood show through when it's painted. This is generally a lower grade panel.
STAIN GRADE VENEER
A stain grade veneer is just the opposite of a paint grade. It is meant to take a clear or tinted stain so the grain pattern and natural characteristics of the wood can show through.
Face Grade Description
AA Architectural grade
The best quality face grade for high-end uses, such as architectural paneling, doors and cabinets, case goods and quality furniture. Generally available by special order.
Where AA is not required, but excellent appearance is very important, as in cabinets and furniture. Select grade veneer for quality and color. A select veneer is composed of entirely heartwood or sapwood and is matched for both grain pattern and color. If spliced, leaves must be spliced and book-matched for a pleasing effect of color and grain. Minor infrequent burls, pin knots and inconspicuous small patches are allowed. Frequency of defects depends on species.
Where the natural characteristics and appearance of the species are desirable. B grade is composed entirely of heartwood or sapwood but is matched for color only. Similar to A grade, but allows more numerous and larger burls, pin knots and color streaks.
Allows more numerous and larger burls, pin knots, color variations and rough-cut veneers. C grade is sound and smooth.
Sound grade free of open defects, but allows unlimited and more repaired defects than the C grades.
Sound grade with all repaired defects allowed.
Shop grade contains minor imperfections and is guaranteed to be a minimum of 85% useable. Usually, the panel is a high-grade product, but due to some defect, did not make the standards for the high grade. It may have a broken corner, a small area of void, or a sanding error.
Back Grade, Description
Allows color variation, no large sound knots, tight knots cannot exceed 3/8" in diameter. Core laps are not permitted. Worm holes and splits are required to be filled.
Color is not a consideration. Sound knots cannot exceed 3/4" in diameter. Repaired core laps and repaired knots permitted.
Knot holes of 1" in diameter are permitted.
Reject back grade not sound. Allows many open defects.