Veneer Cuts

The Art of Cutting Real Wood Veneers

Not all real wood veneers are created equal: there are various ways of cutting the logs and each will produce a different effect, from subtle and sophisticated right through to exceptionally striking.

Veneer cutting is, without a doubt, an art form that has been perfected by expert craftspeople to bring out the very best of the grain and texture of wood.

The Essex based experts at Read Veneers are always happy to guide you on the type of natural wood veneer cut that would best suit your individual requirements. In the meantime, we thought we would share with you how the different cuts work.

Videos kindly supplied courtesy of Capital Crispin Ltd.

  • Flat Cut / Sliced

    The majority of decorative veneers are flat cut or sliced. This method of cutting involves the blade passing straight over the log from one side to the other. The resulting veneer shows the crown which, depending on the growth of the tree, could be uniform in appearance. A ‘cathedral crown’ – resembling cathedral windows – is one example of this effect. The crown may also turn out to be ‘untamed’, so if something a little more on the wild side is favourable, you can let us know. The leaves of flat cut veneers are kept in sequence so consecutive matching can be achieved.

  • Quarter Cut

    Sometimes there is a preference for a straighter grain so, if a log is deemed suitable, quarter cutting can be used. The log is sawn into quarters, each of which is mounted on the knife at the appropriate angle so that the blade can slice across the annual growth rings. This exposes the radial face of the wood leading to a straight grain effect. The overall straightness will of course depend on the unique way the tree grew during its lifetime, and logs for quartering are always very carefully selected bearing this in mind.

  • True Quarter Cut

    This type of cut is the most stable when dealing with wide oak planks. Ideal for high end furniture and panelling, this cut produces a very attractive finish displaying beautiful medullary rays.

  • Rotary Cut

    Rotary cutting reveals unique growth characteristics found towards the outside of the log. Certain veneers, such as Bird’s Eye Maple for example, are always rotary cut for best effect. The log is rotated against the knife blade, with the veneer coming off much like an unravelling roll of paper.

  • Rift Cut

    Rift cutting is a variation on rotary cutting, but this time the log is first cut lengthways into four – like quartering – then each quarter is mounted slightly off-centre then rotated against the knife. A growth pattern similar to the effect achieved using quarter cutting is achieved, although the striped effect often tends to be a little broader and more prominent, with a certain amount of half-crown seen on one edge.

  • Stay Log Crown Production

    Sometimes logs are so big that they don’t lend themselves to flat cutting. Instead, they are cut into thirds or quarters and then mounted on what is known as a stay log machine which allows them to be cut from the inside out. This produces a very attractive crown grain effect.

  • Half Round Cut

    The half-round cutting method produces crown featured veneers and is useful when a log is too small for flat cutting. The logs are first cut through the centre into two halves. One half is then mounted on the stay log machine and rotated against the knife. This allows the arc of the cut to produce a greater width.

  • Burr Production

    The stay log machine can also be used to cut burrs. The rotation of the log against the knife means that larger sized burr veneers can be produced than would be the case with flat slicing.