Veneer Slicing Techniques

There are a lot of ways in which hardwood veneer could be sliced from the hardwood log. Depending on how the log is sliced, very different visual effects can be achieved with the wood’s grain and characteristics.

This is the beauty of working with hardwood veneer – that two same logs when cut in different ways can produce distinctive, individual veneers! The most commonly used veneer cutting methods in hardwood plywood manufacturing are rotary cutting and plain slicing.

Five princiapl cutting methods are used to produce different visual effects of one wood species. Logs of the same species cut by the different methods will produce veneers with and very different looks.

Rotary Cut Flat Sliced Quarter Sliced Rift Cut Half-Round Sliced
The log is mounted centrally in the lathe and turned against a razor sharp blade, like unwinding a roll of paper. Since this cut follows the logs angular growth rings, a multi-patterned grain marking is produced. Rotary cut veneer is exceptionally wide. The half log, or flitch, is mounted with the heart side flat against the flitch table of the slicer and the slicing is done parallel to a line through the center of the log. This produces a distinct figure. The quarter log, or flitch, is mounted on the flitch table so that the growth rings of the log strike the knife at approximately right angles, producing a series of stripes, straight in some woods, varies in others. Rift veneer is produced in the various species of Oak. Oak has medullary ray cells which radiate from the center of the log likes curved spokes of a wheel. The rift or comb grain effect is obtained by cutting at an angle of about 15 degrees off the quartered position to avoid the flake figure of the medullary rays. A variation of rotary cutting. Segments, or flitches, of the log are mounted off center on the lathe. This results in a cut slightly across the annular growth rings, and visually shows modified characteristics of both rotary and plain sliced veneers.