Veneer Cuts

Wood veneers are produced by cutting thin slices of wood from specially selected logs. Methods used for cutting will vary according to size, colour, grain figure and character. Different veneer cuts produce different finishes.

Veneers are usually cut to a uniform thickness. There are several methods of cutting veneer, each effecting the visual characteristics of the final product.

Illustration showing the process of rotary cut wood veneer
Close up of the details of the Circassian Walnut Burl veneer, also known as the English Walnut

Rotary Cut Circassian Walnut Burl

Rotary Cut

The log is mounted centrally in a lathe and sliced around the circumference, following the annual growth rings. As a result this gives a bold variegated grain, and enables very wide leaves to be produced. Continuous rotary slicing is also used for plywood and constructional veneers.

Half-Round Cut

The same process as Rotary Cut but the log is mounted off-centre in the lathe. Curved slices are taken across the annular growth rings, producing a veneer with some of the characteristics of both crown cut and rotary veneers.

Plain Sliced a.k.a Flat Cut or Crown Cut

The log is cut in half, and the half log or flitch is then sliced straight across, parallel to a line through the centre of the log and tangential to the growth rings. This generally produces a veneer with a central area of strong figurative grain and a more linear effect at each edge.

Flat cut sample of the Brazilian Rosewood

Flat Cut Brazilian Rosewood Veneer

Example of an Olive Ash quarter cut veneer

Quarter Cut Olive Ash Veneer

Quarter Cut

The log is cut in quarters, and each quarter flitch is then straight sliced, approximately at right angles to the growth rings. This generally produces a veneer with a relatively uniform linear vertical grain.

Rift Cut

This is used mainly for Oak species, which have medullary rays radiating from the centre of the log like the spokes of a wheel. The log is quarter cut and then mounted on a lathe, taking curved slices slightly across the medullary rays. This accentuates the vertical grain and minimises the flake figure of the rays.

Sample of a quarter cut European Oak veneer

Rift Cut European Oak Veneer

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