veneer matching techniques


Other than rotary cut whole piece faces, all veneers for full sized panels must be assembled into large sheets or “spliced” together. How the individual veneer flitches are arranged is called veneer matching, and will produce a specific pattern in the finished panel. Veneer matching should not be confused with panel matching which refers to the relationship between several panels in a sequence, as in a large auditorium.


Book Matching is the most common matching method in which every other flitch of veneer is turned over like the pages of a book. The result is a pleasing symmetrical pattern of mirror images of grain. While this is a popular technique, one drawback is that one side of the veneer flitches will absorb stains and finishes at a different rate from the other and can produce a “Barber Pole” effect of dark and light. Careful finishing can minimize this effect.


Slip Matching sequences veneers without turning the flitches, like sliding a deck of cards. This allows the grain pattern of each flitch to repeat across the face of the panel, improving color uniformity. With straighter grained veneers the joints won’t be prominent, but some rotary cut veneers, especially those that include both heart and sap wood, can highlight the flitch joints.


Pleasing Match veneers are selected for uniformity of color without regard to grain pattern. No sharp color contrast is allowed, but grain patterns may not match.


Random Matching assembles veneer flitches without regard to grain pattern or color. Visual continuity is not guaranteed, though some species are naturally more uniform than others.

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