AbstractPressing beech veneers at high temperatures has been shown to be a reliable method for manufacturing laminated boards without adhesives. The reasons behind the self-bonding phenomenon as well as the causes of the waterproof character gained by the boards being pressed at 250 °C were investigated. Water leachates from the dried and the hot-pressed veneers were analysed by UV-spectroscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and solid-state cross-polarization magic angle spinning carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (CP/MAS 13C NMR). Press-plate temperatures during hot pressing were 200, 225, and 250 °C. After pressing, an increased content of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (not at 250 °C) and conjugated phenols was observed in the bonding lines (interfaces) compared to the inner part of veneers of the self-bonded boards. Furfural contents were low and relatively similar, but 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) showed an abrupt decrease in the bonding line when the temperature increased from 200 °C to 225 °C and especially to 250 °C. The contribution of caramelization to browning and bonding is suggested. In studies with CP/MAS 13C NMR, a higher content of phenolic units in beech lignin was observed during hot pressing at 225 °C. Homolytical cleavage of b-O-4 structures in lignin as well as the condensation reactions involved are discussed.