Natural veneer - also known as real wood veneer - is a precision slice of wood from the log of a tree. Veneers are usually bonded to a board or other surface, which allows for grain and colour matching on high quality projects.
Solid wood is - as the name suggests - simply a solid piece of wood. The wood may be fashioned into a piece of furniture.
Both solid wood and veneer are made of real wood. Neither should be confused with laminate or other man-made materials intended to look like wood.
Natural veneer has environmental advantages over solid wood. Because a single log is sliced into many sheets of veneer, it requires significantly less logs to produce an end product than using solid wood.
The UV Group uses wood that follows FSC standards for sustainability.
Similarly, because a given log can produce many pieces of veneer, it is usually more cost effective to use veneer than solid wood. It is also less labour intensive.
Some rare and exotic woods - while being beautiful - can also be very costly. So using veneer gives the opportunity to use species which would not be cost effective if made from solid wood.
Wood veneer is less likely to expand and contract with temperature and humidity. It is also less likely to warp, bend or bow than solid wood.
So while both could be suitable for a dining table, solid wood is less suitable for anything with moving parts. Panels, kitchen cabinets and drawers are better suited to veneer.
Both solid wood and veneer can be sanded, stained, lacquered or otherwise treated. This can be both to enhance the look and to increase durability of the product.
Most decorative wood veneers are produced from hardwoods which - like solid wood - are more durable than soft woods.
Many famous antique makers have used veneers. One of the most famous is Thomas Chippendale who took advantage of its versatility, stability, matching and continuity of grain and colour.