Types of Veneer

Flat Cut Veneers:

This is the most common method of veneer manufacturing. In this process the knife passes straight over the log, producing veneer in the form of both crowns and quarters. (These quarters are sometimes called 'false quarters', as they are not specifically produced as true quarter cut veneers, but have the same straight-grained appearance.)

In some veneers the crowns and quarters are sold separately, and if a veneer is not described as crown, quarter, or otherwise then it will be a flat cut veneer.

Crown Cut Veneers:

Crown cut veneers are usually sourced from flat cut logs as described above - the typical prominent 'cathedral' grain pattern is due to the angle of the cut being tangential to the growth rings. These veneers are very often requested to be reverse-slipmatched, where a particular veneer has a strong cathedral grain at one end, so that it is balanced at the other - for instance when being used for boardroom tables.

Because each leaf in the flitch is similar, a consistent and even matching pattern is possible.

Another method of obtaining 'crowns' is by the staylog method, which is described below.

Quarter Cut Veneers:

Also called quartered veneers, these are produced by cutting the log into quarters and then slicing in a direction tangential (perpendicular) to the growth rings, i.e. towards the centre of the log. This cut requires the largest diameter logs and produces straight grained veneers. The quarter slicing of oak can result in the appearance of flake.

This description is commonly used when 'false quarters' are sourced separated from a flat cut veneer log, as they have a similar, straight-grained appearance. These veneers are commonly slipmatched to achieve a uniform colouring and light-reflecting property.

Rotary Cut Veneers:

Rotary cut veneers (or peeled veneers) are produced by turning the log in a circular motion against a knife peeling off a continuous thin sheet of wood veneer. This is the most economical method of producing veneer and is regularly used for veneers that will be used in the production of plywood, especially the core. The grain is inconsistent and leaves can be difficult to match, although full panel widths are possible with this form of production.

Special Cuts and Forms of Veneer

Rift Cut Veneers:

Produced by cutting at a slight angle to the radial to produce a quartered appearance without excessive ray flake, rift cutting is a way to produce guaranteed clean 'quartered' oak in volume. This form of cutting can only be used on sizable logs and rift cut veneers can easily be sequenced and matched.

Staylog Veneers:

These are produced by locking the log into the machine arm which rotates offcentre to the core of the log. This form of veneer production offers a crown cut effect, except the veneers are larger than the diameter of the log itself, due to the path the blade takes through the log. Many large width so-called 'crown cut veneers' are actually produced by the staylog method

Burr Veneers:

Burr veneers are formed by abnormal growth, or excrescences, which are common to most trees. Irritation or injury forms an interwoven, contorted, or gnarly mass of dense woody tissue from which this veneer is harvested.
These veneers are produced by rotary cutting or peeling the log

Specialty Veneers:

An example of this would be Birds Eye Maple, whose figure is due to small conical depressions in the outer annual rings of the Maple tree, so that the latter growth follows the same contour probably for many years. This distortion of the fibre alignments appears on rotary cut and plain cut veneer as a series of small concentric circles like a Birds Eye.
There are several doubtful explanations for the cause of the grain disturbance and embryo bugs, birds in search of sap, insects and fungi retarding growth in small localised areas are all claimed by different authorities to be the cause.

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