There are many grades in veneer logs and acceptable defects affect the quality and value of the veneer and consequently the value of the logs.
This picture to the left shows the cut end of a hard maple log. To improve the quality of this veneer log a 4 inch thick piece was cut from the end of the log (the piece on the ground). When you look at the bottom slab the area circled with the red line shows an old scar. By cutting that off the quality of the log was improved. This log has what is called a small heart which is the darker colored center. In maple the light colored wood is what is valued.
This maple log to the right shows the effects of bird peck. When the birds wound the tree, bacteria feed on the sap and turns the wounded area a dark color. As sheets of veneer are peeled off this log there will be the dark color areas in the sheets and small holes from where the bird was pecking. Some of this wood will be used in the interior layers of the veneer panel.
The log below is an example of a high quality veneer log. The positive characteristics are a small heart, good diameter (16 to 17 inches) and surface free of defects. A good forest manager understands quality and by cutting poor quality trees and concentrating growth on your best trees creates logs like this one. It’s worth noting, when a tree reaches this quality, if you leave it stand too long your risk of degrade increases.