It is all about the details when specifying a project and when it comes to architectural wood doors, the terminology can be confusing to even an experienced specifier. Some of the most difficult questions come when specifying veneer. This post is the first in a series dedicated to understanding wood veneer. Some of the questions to be answered in this series are:
- What are the differences between veneer cuts?
- How are individual veneer pieces matched?
- Veneer selection and color
- Relative cost differences
- Fact or Fiction – We’ll clarify industry myths.
Face veneer is the most visual part of the product. It captures the design vision of the project and will represent the architect’s signature on his project masterpiece. Doors are a functional aspect to every project that every visitor who enters the building will likely operate.
Let’s begin with exploring the world of veneer cuts. The method in which the log is cut, in relation to the annual growth rings, will determine the appearance of the veneer. The beauty of veneer is in the natural variations of texture, grain, figure, color and the assembly on the door face.
- The log is mounted horizontally in the lathe and is spun at a high RPM as it is pressed against a stationary, razor-edge knife.
- Result: A distinctive variegated appearance producing wide leaves or even one-piece faces.
- Follows the log’s annual growth rings
- Rotary veneers are generally cut from 1/28” to 1/8” thick.
Plain-Sliced (Flat Cut)
- The half log is mounted with the heart side flat against the guide plate of the slicer. The log is then sliced parallel to a line through the center of the log.
- Result: Cathedral and straight grain patterns
- Pieces of veneer are kept in the order in which they are sliced resulting in a natural grain progression when assembled into veneer faces.
- AWS and WDMA Door Standards for PC-5 and PC-7 require a minimum 1/50” after sanding.
- The quarter log is mounted on the guide plate so the growth rings of the log strike the knife at or near right angles, producing a series of stripes.
- Quarter-slicing produces “flake” when slicing through the line of the medullary ray. Flake varies in size and frequency from log to log and it is not considered a defect.
- The size of flake will only be controlled if the specification calls for it.
- This cut, only available in red and white oaks, is obtained by cutting at an angle about 15° off of the quartered position to avoid the flake figure of medullary cells.
- It is only slightly more expensive than quartered.