AbstractBirch veneers were coated with Ni-P films by a combined process of KBH4 activation and electroless plating. The plated veneers were further chemically corroded to obtain hydrophobic surfaces on wood. The effect of chemical corrosion on the contact angle of the veneers was investigated. The hydrophobic veneers were characterized by X-ray photo electron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The surface contact angle of birch veneer before and after it was plated with Ni-P alloy coating was 41º and 121º, respectively. The contact angle reached 136.7º when the nickel-coated veneers were corroded in CuSO4 aqueous solution for 30 min. XPS analysis showed that Cu0 cluster doped with little CuO formed on the corroded surface of Ni-P alloy film after chemical corrosion. SEM and XRD showed that rough copper clusters formed on the surface of the wood veneer and revealed the reason of the surface hydrophobicity. This study provides a new pathway for fabricating hydrophobic wood.