Book Matching – Alternating pieces of veneer are flipped over so the two adjoining surfaces mirror each other, giving the appearance of an open book. This is the most common type of matching. Because the “tight” and “loose” faces alternate in adjacent leaves, they reflect light and accept stain differently, which may produce a noticeable color variation in some species or flitches.
Butt or End Matching – veneer leaves are spliced end to end to create a longer panel or piece of veneer. There are two types of end matching: Architectural end matching – where leaves are first book or slip matched end-to-end and then side-to-side, alternating end and side.
Center Matching - Each panel face is made with an even number of flitch sheets with a center line appearing at the midpoint of the panel and an equal number of veneer sheets on each side of the center line. The number of leaves on the face is always even, but the widths are not necessarily the same.
Pleasing Match – veneer is matched by color but not by grain pattern.
Random Matching / Planked – veneer are placed next to each other to purposefully mismatch grain, color, size, and pattern. This often produces a casual or rustic appearance as it is trying to simulate lumber planking.
Reverse Slip Matching – Veneer leaves are slipped out from under each other and every other leaf is flipped end to end. This technique is used to balance the character of the veneer in the panel face.
Running Match - The panel face is made from components running through the flitch consecutively. Any portion of a component or leaf in starting the next panel.
Sequence Matching - A method of arranging veneer faces such that each face is in order relative to its original position in the tree and, therefore, contains features of grain and figures similar to adjacent faces.
Slip Matching - Means that veneer leaves in a flitch are "slipped." Successive veneer leaves in a flitch are "slipped" one alongside the other and edge-glued in this manner. The result is a series of grain repeats, but no pairs. The danger with this method derives from the fact that grain patterns are rarely perfectly straight. Sometimes a grain pattern "runs off" the edge of the leaf. A series of leaves with this condition could usually make a panel look like it is leaning. In the book matching the pairs balance each other. However, since all faces have the same light refraction, there will be a uniformity of color, unlike book matching.
Types of Figure & Other Wood Characteristics
Bark Pocket - A bark-filled distortion in the grain pattern.
Bird's Eye - Due to local sharp depressions in the annual rings, accompanied by considerable fiber distortions. Once the depressions are formed, succeeding growth rings follow the same contour for many years. Rotary veneer cuts the depressions crosswise, and shows a series of circlets called bird's eyes. It occurs only in a small percentage of Maple trees.
Bird Pecks - Small blemishes in the grain pattern resulting from birds pecking that sometimes contain ingrown bark. An exception to the rule is hickory and elm.
Blister - Produced by an uneven contour of the annual rings. The veneer has the effect of being blistered. Must be cut rotary or half-round.
Cathedral - A grain appearance characterized by a series of stacked "V" and inverted "V". Pattern common in plain-sliced (flat-cut) veneer.
Cross Fire - Figures which extend across the grain as mottle, fiddle-back, raindrop and finger-roll are often called cross figure or cross fire. A pronounced cross fire adds greatly to the beauty of the veneer.
Curly Figure - Found mostly in Maple or Birch, and is due to the fibers being distorted and producing a wavy or curly effect in the veneer.
Figure - The pattern produced in a wood surface by annual growth rings, rays, knots, deviations from natural grain such as interlocked and wavy grain, and irregular coloration. Appears across the grain. Mottle, fiddleback and raindrop are often called cross figure or cross fire.
Glassworm – Random mineral like tracts. Usually associated with Ash.
Grub Holes – holes larger than ¼”
Gum - Patches or black spots occurring primarily in American Cherry. This undesirable characteristic is acceptable in varying degree in most grades of Cherry.
Heartwood - The non-active center of a tree generally distinguishable from the outer portion (sapwood) by its darker color.
Holes, worm - Holes resulting from infestation of worms.
Knots, Pin - Sound knots 1/4 inch or less that do not contain dark centers. Inconspicuous or blending pin knots are barely detectable at a distance of 6' to 8', do not seriously detract from the overall appearance of the panel, and are permitted in all grades.
Knots, Sound, Tight - Knots that are solid across their face and fixed by growth to retain their place.
Knots, Unsound - Knots that once formed the base of a branch or twig and has a pith center and in some cases the wood may be missing.
Looseside - In knife-cut veneer, that side of the sheet that was in contact with the knife as the sheet was being cut. The bending of the wood at the knife edge causes cutting checks.
Mineral Streak - A dark patch or discoloration in the wood which occurs because of the presence of minerals in the soil in which the tree is growing.
Mottle Figure - A variegated pattern which consists principally of irregular, wavy fibers extending for short distances across the face. If there is also some irregular cross figure in a log with a twisted interwoven grain, the broken stripe figure becomes a mottle.
Pith – the small soft core at the structural center of the tree.
Pommele Figure - Comes from the French word, "Pomme" (Pomme = Apple). The term given to a regular veneer marking which resembles apples.
Quilted Figure - A larger, more exaggerated version of pommele or blister figure. The cellular figure is elongated and closely crowded giving it a pillowy three dimensional effect. It is most commonly found in Maple, Mahogany, Moabi and Sapele.
Ribbon Stripe - Result of quarter-slicing a log and the appearance actually is between broken stripe and plain stripe. It gives the general appearance of a ribbon sometimes slightly twisted.
Ropey Figure - If the twist in the grain of broken stripe is all in one direction, a rope figure results.
Sapwood - This is the outer portion of the tree. As additional layers of growth accumulate on the outer perimeter, the inner layers of the sapwood become heartwood. Sap is lighter in color and the differentiation in color and thickness of the sap layer varies considerably by species.
Shake – a separation between the annual growth rings.
Split – a lengthwise separation of the wood created as the wood dries.
Swirl Grain - A lesser degree of crotch figure. The grain tends to swirl around in a random pattern. This figure frequently appears in cherry, mahogany, walnut and maple.
Wane – bark or the lack of wood caused by the round nature of the tree or log.
Worm Holes – holes in the wood ranging in size from 1/16” to over ¼”
Burl Veneer - Produced from a large, wartlike growth on the trunk of the tree. The grain pattern typically resembles a series of eyes laid side by side. Obviously the veneers leaf sizes are generally small and additionally are defective. While producing beautiful patterns, burl veneer is difficult to work with.
Crotch Veneer - Produced from the portion of the tree just below the point where it forks into two limbs. The grain is twisted, creating a variety of flame figures. Often resembles a well formed feather. The outside of the block produces a swirl figure that changes to full crotch flame figure as the cutting approaches the center of the block.
Raw Veneer - Wood veneer cut from any log by any slicing method that is dried and then used as a natural flitch or leaf of veneer. Much production and machining of this veneer has to be accomplished prior to the final application to a substrate.
Reconstituted Veneer - A man-made veneer which uses real wood fiber with natural colorants to simulate various color, figure and grain seen in real wood veneers.
Spliced Face Veneer - Face veneers that have been joined in any one of several matching effects through the careful factory process of tapeless splicing.
Stump Veneer - Produced from the base of the tree. Here the grain pattern is always swirly twisted and often accompanied by cross fire and patches of burl. The sizes are normally small.
Veneer Log - Logs, either hardwood or softwood, which have specific characteristics or traits which qualify them to be sliced for veneer only. Less than 5% of all logs are of veneer quality.
Types of Cuts
Hardwood lumber grades are set by the National Hardwood Lumber Association. Here at Formations we strive to hold our lumber to Select & Better standards.
FAS – “FAS” is a term that derives from an original grade “First and Seconds”. FAS is the highest grade of lumber. This grade includes some defects but is considered the premier lumber for furniture and cabinet making. Minimum board size is 6” and wider and 8’ and longer.
FAS 1-Face (F1F) - is a Select piece of lumber that is 6 inches and wider, with one face graded as FAS and the other being No. 1 Common grade.
Select – this grade is virtually identical to F1F, except for the minimum board size. Selects allow boards 4”+ and 6’+. The price of Selects and 1-Face is usually the same as FAS.
No. 1 Common (No. 1C) - often referred to as Cabinet grade, or called Common or just No. 1. No. 1C is the standard furniture grade lumber, and provides a good selection of long, medium length, and short cuttings at a reasonable price. Boards are a minimum of 3” wide and 4’ long.
No. 2A Common (No. 2AC) - often referred to ask the Economy grade just called No. 2 Common, has become the standard grade for cabinets, millwork, and other uses requiring medium to short cuttings. Often current prices favor using No. 2 Common instead of No. 1 common for furniture, even though yields are lower with No. 2.
No. 2B Common (No. 2BC) - is the same as No. 2A Common, except that stain and other sound defects are admitted in the clear cuttings. It is an excellent paint grade.
No. 3A Common (No. 3AC) – often combined with No. 3B Common, the combination is sold as No. 3 Common and is widely used for flooring and pallets.
No. 3B Common (No. 3BC) - is graded on the basis of sound cuttings rather than clear cuttings. It is widely used for pallets and crating.
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