Veneer Matching

There are many ways to match and joint leaves of real wood veneer. The veneer matching technique should be carefully considered based on the desired finish and appearance of the veneer application.

Each technique results in a unique pattern and visual effect. Matching has an important impact on the aesthetics of the end project.

Visual representation of veneer matching slip technique example.

Slip Matching

Slip matching is when consecutive leaves of veneer are slid across each other and joined side by side. As a result, a repeating grain pattern across the panel is created. While some color contrast can occur at the joints, slip matching produces fairly uniform color. Because all leaves are similarly oriented, the result is a repeated grain that generally prevents the “barber pole” effect. Slip matching is a common technique that is often used with quarter and rift cut veneer to provide a clean straight grain look.

Reverse Slip Matching

In order to create reverse slip matched panels a couple of steps need to be taken. First, alternating leaves of veneer need to be slipped across each other. Second, every other leaf is flipped end to end. Reverse slip matching creates an alternating grain pattern. The result breaks up the repetitive “marching” pattern of the traditional slip match. It balances the character of the veneer and is often used where curved shapes might cut off the grain in peculiar ways.

Visual representation of veneer matching reverse-slip technique example.
Visual representation of veneer matching book technique example.

Book Matching

Matching in this style is achieved by flipping leaves of veneer like the pages of a book. This results in a mirror image of the previous leaf. The symmetrical pattern accentuates the grain, figure and decorative characteristics of the veneer. Book matching can create color variation. With this in mind caution must be taken as flipping every other leaf can produce alternating “tight” and “loose” faces that reflect light and accept stain differently. Often this produces a “barber pole” effect. Book matching is the most common technique and is widely used with flat, quarter or rift cut veneers.

End Matching a.k.a Book-and-Butt Matching

End matching, also know as book-and-butt matching, is widely used for highly decorative purposes. To create this type of panel a few steps are taken. First, book match two consecutive veneer leaves (as described above). Second, match another two consecutive leaves in the same way, then flip them over. Lastly, join these two booked matched veneer sets at the end. End matching creates beautiful patterns. The result accentuates swirly grains and the irregular characteristics of veneer. This method makes particularly good use of shorter veneer leaves and is often implemented with burl and crotch figured veneer.

Visual representation of veneer matching book and butt technique example.
Visual representation of veneer matching random technique example.

Random Matching

To create this technique leaves are positioned as if randomly stacked and deliberately unmatched. Due to this mismatching color and grain are emphasised. Random matching creates the appearance of solid wood with a casual or rustic feel. In addition, this is an excellent way to use flitches with short leaves or those with inconsistent width, color and grain.

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