Burl and Crotch Veneer
Some veneers are highly prone to warping. Burls and crotch veneers have unusual cell structures that expand and contract at different rates when there are changes in humidity. These changes then affect the moisture content in those wood cells which causes buckling of the veneer. Burl and crotch veneer can be stored in anything that will prevent changes in moisture content. Shrink wrap, plastic "cling" wrap, or even a trash bag can be used. Store the veneer flat and preferably with some evenly distributed weight on top.
Long Wood Veneer
Straight grain and other non-burl veneers can be pressed between two pieces of MDF or flake board, and
leaned against the wall. If you store your veneers in the basement,
be sure to put a block of wood underneath just in case your basement
ever gets flooded.
If a veneer is not flat, use veneer softener to relax the wood cells so you can flatten it without splitting or cracking. Click here to learn more about the veneer flattening process.
Rolled or Unrolled?
Long wood veneers are typically shipped rolled up. Once they arrive, it's best to slowly and carefully unroll the veneer and then store it flat. Ideally a board and weight should be placed on top of the veneer to minimize changes in moisture content and prevent color fading caused by exposure to UV rays from sun and fluorescent light.
Some veneers will arrive with tape on the ends to prevent splitting during transit. To remove the tape without splitting the veneer, pull it off in the direction of the grain. If you pull it across the grain, it may tear the veneer or further tear any existing splits. Some companies recommend that you leave the tape on the veneer until you are ready to use it. I don't recommend this practice because some veneers are capable of expanding and contracting with even the slightest change in humidity. This is especially true of flat cut veneer. The tape can cause the veneer to buckle when it tries to expand or split when it tries to contract. If your veneer has a split, you can prevent it from advancing by place small pieces of blue tape (or standard veneer tape) along the length of the split. This will allow the wood cells to shrink and expand each season without stressing the entire width of the veneer.
Typically, there is no "shelf life" to a veneer when it is stored properly. I have used elm burl veneer that was sliced in the early 1970's and there was no problem.
Veneer Storage Tips
Small veneers can be placed on a shelf with
a piece of plywood or MDF on top. A small amount of even weight
over this will help keep flat veneers inline.
Veneers stored in damp environments are subject to patches of mold. To prevent this from occurring, use a dehumidifier in the area where the veneers are kept. And should a patch of mold form, wipe on a light coat of oxalic acid (wood bleach) which is available in most hardware stores. It is often used to clean wood decks. Follow the directions on the container. It will probably cause darker veneers like walnut to lighten up a bit.
medium sized veneers, I prefer to sandwich them between two
oversized sheets of MDF or flakeboard. I then use screws, shrink wrap, or
duct tape to hold the sandwich together.
veneers can be stored unrolled. I made a shelf above my garage
door from a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. I keep a couple layers of trash bags over the veneers to minimize moisture changes. You also might also be able
to convince your spouse to let you store veneer under the couch or coffee table. Some of my best veneers are stored under my bed!