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Veneer Cuts

Veneer Cuts

The beauty of veneer is in the natural variations of texture, grain, figure, color, and the way it is assembled on a door face. Faces will have the natural variations of grain inherent in the species cut. Any two veneer flitches of the same species may produce entirely different visual characteristics even though their color values are similar.

Any method of cutting veneers can produce a wide variety of grain patterns and the method also plays a major role in the log’s yield or the number of flitches that can be produced from a log.

It is strongly recommended that the project designer and supplier know what the desired look is prior to ordering. It is also worth noting that in most cases wood veneers and lumber cut from the same log will not be a perfect match.

Veneer Cuts:The way in which a log is cut in relation to the annual rings, determines the appearance of any veneer. The most commonly utilized cuts are described below.

Rotary Cut

The log is centered mounted in a lathe and rotated at a high rpm as the blade is slowly move in to peel a thin layer of wood from the log. This slice follows the log’s annular growth rings, a general bold variegated and random appearance is produced.

Once the sheets have been produced or lathed from the log, they can be spliced to the desired flitch dimensions. This is probably the least expensive cut due to the yield.

Plain Sliced (Flat Cut)

The half log is mounted with the heart side floating against the guide plate of the slicer, and the slicing is done parallel to a line through the center of the log, producing a variegated figure. This cut produces a grain pattern in the shape of an inverted “V” or what is commonly referred to as a cathedral or crown pattern. Plain slicing may also produce a rotary cut appearance, a quartered cut appearance or even a rift cut appearance depending on the individual log and angle of the slicing of that log.

Quarter Slicing

The quarter log is mounted on the guide plate so that the growth rings of the log strike at approximately right angles, producing a very straight grain (quartered) in some woods and varied grain appearance in other woods. In both red and white Oak, this slicing can produce unlimited amounts of medullary rayor ray fleck. Although these rays can not be totally eliminated in straight grain cuts it can be minimized by rift cutting the quarter of a log.

Rift Cut / Comb Grain

(Red & White Oak ONLY!)

The Rift or Comb grain effect is produced by slicing perpendicular to the Oak’s medullary rays on either the lathe or the slicer. This particular cut produces a very distinguishable straight and tight grain over the length of the entire flitch. This also minimizes the medullary rays that are produced in quarter cut veneers. Further more it is a better cut for matching adjacent flitches as well as stock or lumber material. Comb grain is the “hybrid “to Rift cut as far as tightness of grain and absence of rays or flecks.


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Vancouver Door Company, Puyallup WA.