Can you apply veneer to plywood panels?

How difficult is it to veneer 4′by10′ plywood panels for use in panelling walls?

If possible, what would be the best technique, type of veneer, thickness of plywood, adhesive, and tools to use to get good results?

Let me just cover some of the basic knowledge of veneering. The best methods for applying veneer require some type of pressing method either by vacuum press, hydraulic press or other press type. The reason these methods are preferred is because they allow you to use glue lines that cure hard and rigid. These types of glue have to be pressed while the glue cures. The only other viable method for veneering which doesn’t require a press is to use contact cement. This gives you an instant bond once the mating surfaces make contact. The drawback here is the glue line itself never cures hard and remains flexible to some degree. This can allow some veneer movement over time which is not a good long-term situation.

Briefly, the best substrates to use are MDF, particle board and plywood … in that order. The thickness of the substrate you use depends upon whether this will be a structural piece or if it’s going to be attached to a structural component. In the case of wall panels usually 1/2″ is suitable but circumstances may dictate something else.

The type of adhesive and which type of veneer to use will be determined by what pressing method you have available or if you can press the veneer at all. For specifics about your project it’s best to get the answers by calling our technical support.

Oakwood Veneer Tech Support
Your source for veneering information

2 comments to Can you apply veneer to plywood panels?

  • jacob sofer

    I plan to apply a wood veneer over a wall that is framed with 1/2″ plywood. The plywood is new but rough at some spots & the cornners are rough. is it possible to apply a leveling compound than sand smooth. The compound will fill some sponts about 1/16″

    can you make suggestions ?

    Jacob Sofer

    • Jay

      In order to do this you will definately have to create a smooth surface befor veneering. An ideal filler for this application is bondo. It dries quickly and sands well and will not shrink. The problem with a lot of fillers is they sometimes shrink, and when that happens that defect will telegraph through the veneer and you will see that spot.

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