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2-sided veneer application

Oct 28th 2015


I have sort of a tricky question and, after much surfing on the net and sifting through the other posts on this forum, this seems like the best place to find an answer.

My project is a little complicated to explain, but the best way would be to imagine a box with one side open. I want to veneer the outside (4 of 5 sides, not sure what to do with the bottom yet) with a dark walnut veneer. The inside (all 5 surfaces) I want to be solid red. It has sort of a modern/contemporary feel to it. I think my options for the inside are to dye the plywood, use a formica type product, or to use paint*. If it matters, I have not yet decided to use contact cement or the iron glue method. Anyway, my questions are:

1. I have read in other posts/faq’s about veneering both sides of a board because of moisture issues. Does the thickness of the veneer material(s) matter (i.e. 10-20 mill wood veneer on one side, Formica-type laminate on the other)? I have not been able to find a solid color laminate anywhere near the thickness (thinness?) of wood veneer. The Formica-type laminate would be much, much thicker of course. Would a formica type material work if I can’t find anything any thinner?

2. If it is just a moisture issue and not a bowing/flexing issue, would paint on the opposite side of the veneered side be a suitable option? [*I have a technique I've used before on a few aquarium stands where I will roll a layer or two of textured/hammered paint, then paint over it with a color of choice, followed by a coat of polycrylic sealant]

I hope I have explained this well. Sorry if it is longer than it needs to be, just don’t want to leave any important details out. This will be my first time working with veneer. I want to try and get it right the first time. Thanks so much in advance for any advice! P.S. – Sort of a novice here.


The moisture problem you refer to is exactly what causes crowning or bowed boards and substrates. The uneven exchange of moisure through one side of a laminated substrate will cause your substrate to flex. To what degree depends on a number of variables or conditions.

There are two things we would recommend here: You can either veneer both inside and outside with similar veneers, it doesn’t have to be walnut on the inside if you chose to purchase something cheaper. The other option that we offer, if you’re painting, would be to use our backer sheet on the inside. What we call “Plastiback” is a phenolic impregnated paper backer approximately 11 mils thick that can be painted and will perform well as a balance sheet.

Your idea of just painting and sealing the surface might be fine for some situations, but we would stick with a proven technique for veneer.

Oakwood Veneer Tech Support