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This document is a student production providing detailed information on plywood and veneer production for the Forest Products unit, Department of Forestry, Australian National University.

Constructed by Robert M. Young - BSc. (Forestry)


Veneer Production

Plywood Manufacture

Australian Companies


Veneer and plywood have a long Australian history in converting forest resources into value added products. Plywood is in fact a value added product of veneer.

The veneer manufacturing process ( see flow chart) , cuts the log into peelable lengths, removes the bark, and places the veneer bolt into the lathe. The lathe carriage moves forward as the spindles rotate the bolt. As the full length veneer knife slices through the wood fibre, the spinning bolt becomes a veneer ribbon. The veneer ribbon is transported downstream, clipped into selected widths, and sorted onto loads by width and moisture content. The veneer is then dried to a predetermined moisture content, usually 3-6%. The drying process stabilises the veneer dimension, strengthens the fibres, and prepares the wood for gluing. The veneer is next sorted by width and grade, and taped or spliced if the layons need repair. The veneer is then ready for panel laying. The veneers are then prepared for gluing and pressed into plywood panels. After pressing the plywood is conditioned and finished and packed for shipment.


Veneering is a highly popular way of utilising the natural qualities of wood which utilises nearly the whole log. The conversion process from log to veneer boast a recovery rate of up to 95%. Which is unheard of in conventional softwood and hardwood sawmills. Wood veneer is a thin 0.3 to 6 mm sheet of wood having its grain parallel to the surface. The sheet or layon is peeled from a selected log by using either a lathe or slicer. The following factors determine the quality and end use of veneers produced.


The plywood manufacturing process is unique, as a raw material is manufactured into a product that is stronger or as strong as the original tree (Baldwin 1981). It is manufactured by gluing together one or more veneers to both sides of a veneer or solid wood core. The grain of alternate layers is crossed, generally at right angles, and the species, thickness and grain direction of each layer are matched with those of their opposite number on the other side of the core.

To describe a veneer core plywood completely, it is required to indicate three constitutes.

The manufacture of plywood can be divided into two main stages

Plywood also claims a high versatility of end uses. its relatively simple to manufacture and has many advantages over other wood converted products as well as some steel and sheet metal applications.

References and Bibliography

Australias Parliment. Senate. Standing.Committee on Trade and Commerce, (1981). Australia's Forestry and Forest Products Industries: Report by the Senate Standing Comitte on Trade and Commerce. Australiajn Goverment Publishing Service, Canberra.

Australian Products Industries Advisory Council, (1980). Australia's Forest Products Industries: a report by the Forest Products Industries Advisory Council. Australiajn Goverment Publishing Service, Canberra.

Baldwin.R.F., (1981). Plywood Manufacturing Practices Revised 2nd Edition. Miller and Freeman Publication Inc. USA.

Boas. I.H., (1947). The Commercial Timbers of Australia: their Properties and Uses. Australiajn Goverment Publishing Service, Melbourne.

Evans, P. D, (1996) Wood Conversion and Utilisation Lecture Notes. Australian National University.

Gunns Veneers. Sustainable regrowth Crown Cut Veneer Information Sheet and Users Guide.

International Consultation on Plywood and Other Wood-Based Panel Products, (1963). Plywood and Other Wood Based Panels. Food and Agriculture Oranization of the United Nations, Rome.

UCNW (1978). University College of North Wales course material, unpublished.

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Department of Forestry
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Established August 1996
Last update: 22 October 1996