Hardwood and decorative softwood veneers which are the visible faces of hardwood plywood panels are cut from the trunk or root of the tree. The tree is sliced up into thin sheets of wood called flinches. These flinches are then glue-stitched together in various matching sequences (see plywood matching) to create the face and back apprearance of plywood panel.
The type and angle of the slicing produces different grain patterns in the flinches creating the final looking of the panel.
Veneer Slicing Types From Logs
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The whole log is peeled. It can yield whole sheets of veneer with wide grain pattern which is different with plain or quarter-sliced veneers.
This method produces a range of stripes — straight in some woods, varied in others. A flake pattern is produced when slicing through medullary rays in some wood species, mainly oak. Most timber logs produce the same look as rift cut.
The half log, or flitch, is mounted with the heart side flat against the flitch table of the slicer. The slicing is done parallel to a line through the center of the timber to produce a distinct pattern.
A cut angle of 15 degrees to the radius of the flitch is used to minimize the ray flake affect in oak.
Plywood Veneer Matching Techniques
There are about four different techniques for creating the veneer patterns of the plywood surface.
This is easy to understand. The most common type of plywood face is whole sheet veneer.
Adjacent veneer sheets are joined side by side, same sides up, for a uniform grain pattern.
Every other piece of adjacent veneer is turned over, resulting in identical, but opposing grains.
Veneers intentionally do not match at the joints, providing a casual and natural effect.