In reality most commercial American hardwood species can be sliced or rotary cut to produce veneers. Therefore demand plays an important role in availability.
The table below indicates veneer availability for the main commercial American hardwoods. This information is cross-referenced with the AHEC publication "Species".
SPECIES EXPORT AVAILABILITY - VENEER Alder Rare Ash Readily available in a wide range of grades and colour sorts Aspen Limited availability due to low demand Basswood Available, but can be limited in some markets due to low demand Beech Very limited due to low demand and wide availability of European beech Yellow birch Rare Cherry Widely available in all grades Cottonwood Rare Elm Limited Gum Available but limited due to low demand Hackberry Available but limited due to low demand Hickory Limited due to low demand Pecan Limited due to low demand Hard maple Widely available in all grades - bird's-eye figure limited Soft maple Availability increasing in response to demand Red oak Widely available in all grades and a range of colour sorts White oak Widely available in all grades and a range of colour sorts Sassafras Limited Sycamore Available but limited in some markets due to low demand Tulipwood Readily available Walnut Wide availability in all grades - burl figure limited Willow Limited
Other available species
In some species certain logs occasionally produce dramatic grain patterns when specially sliced. Examples of some of these unusual figured veneers include walnut and oak burl, quilted maple and aspen, bird's-eye maple, vavona (redwood burl) and madronna. Availability of these specially figured veneers will be limited as only a relatively small number of logs processed will have the necessary grain pattern.
American hardwood veneer exporters distribute their product in export markets, through specialised importers and distributors. These companies typically hold stock in a wide range of species and grades in order to respond to user demand by inspection.
Significant volumes of hardwood veneers are sold to sheet material manufacturers, who then lay them on a range of substrates, such as medium density fibreboard (MDF) or particleboard. These panel products are then distributed to manufacturers and end users as decorative panels. It is important to note that under American terminology, these products are grouped together and known as hardwood plywood.