Veneer Cuts and Matching

Choosing the right veneer creates the right first impression.

The cut, color, and face style of a veneer immediately defines the ambiance of a space.  A high-end office for high-profile clients. A grassroots farm-to-table restaurant. A warm, enriching classroom. Every environment has a unique energy, we can express starting at the door.

Plain Sliced or Flat Cut Veneer—The half log, or flitch, is mounted with the heart side against the guide plate of the slicer. Cuts are made parallel to a line through the center of the log, producing a distinct figure. By keeping the veneer leaves in the same order in which they are cut, the leaves can be reassembled with only a very gradual grain figure transition from one panel to another.

Rotary Cut Veneer—A method of cutting in which the log is placed on a large lathe and turned against a fixed blade, so that a continuous cut is made round and round the log, more or less parallel at all times to the growth ring. The result is a wild, varied grain effect. Since the grain pattern is non-repetitive, it cannot be used for sequence matching.

Quarter Sliced Veneer—A quarter log, or flitch, is mounted so that the slicer cuts the log at a 45˚ angle to the axis lines of the log, creating a striped or straight grain effect. A flake effect is produced in oak veneers using this method.

Rift Cut Veneer—This is similar to quarter slicing and is used with various types of oak. Oak has medullary ray cells that radiate from the center of the log. By slicing across these rays, the vertical grain is accentuated and flake is minimized.

After the face cut option is selected, the type of match at the joint is chosen. During fabrication of the veneer, how the individual cuts are laid next to each other changes the door’s appearance.

Book Match—The most commonly used match in the industry. Every other piece of veneer is turned over so adjacent pieces are opened like two adjacent pages in a book. The veneer joints match and create a mirrored image pattern at the joint line, yielding a maximum continuity of grain. Book matching is used with plain sliced and, less often, with other cuts of veneer.

Barber Pole Effect In Book Match—Because the “tight” and “loose” faces alternate in adjacent pieces of veneer, they may accept stain or reflect light differently, resulting in a noticeable color variation, often called “barber pole.” These variations are not considered a manufacturing defect.

Slip Match—The adjoining of veneer components in sequence without turning over every other piece. The grain figure repeats, but joints won’t show a mirrored effect. Slip matching is often used in quarter cut, rift cut, and comb grain veneers to minimize the barber pole effect.

Random Match—A random selection of veneer components from one or more logs, producing a “board-like” appearance.

End Match—Generally selected for doors with transoms, this match utilizes a single piece of veneer that runs from the bottom to the top of the door. At the transom, a mirror image is created by turning the veneer at the joint.

Continuous Match—When a single piece of veneer is utilized for both the face of the door and the transom.

Specifying Natural Birch can create some unpredictable colors and patterns, no matter the grade, cut, assembly, or match. Click here to read more about Natural Birch and the characteristics that make it so unique.