Each piece of
natural wood veneer is unique. Slices from the same log
have entirely different visual characteristics resulting
from the same type of cut. The two methods most commonly
used are slicing and rotary cut.
VENEER IS MANUFACTURED
How a particular log is sliced may depend upon any one,
or a combination of determining factors including species,
size, yield and physical characteristics, as well as intended
use. Depending upon the wood species involved, the veneer
may be cut to a thickness of 1/32 or thinner.
After the log has been selected, and the cutting method
determined, it is cut to lengths of nine to 17 feet and
divided into halves or quarters. These sections are called
cants. During the process of slicing and drying,
each sheet of veneer (referred to as a leaf) is carefully
stacked in the same order in which it was cut from the
log. The total leafs cut from one cant are now called
a flitch of veneer, measured in surface square-footage,
regardless of thickness.
log and its resulting flitches are identified by a serial
number. This procedure of accurate identification is necessary
to assure consistent matching. Designers can select veneers
by requesting flitch samples that are tagged for identification.
These are usually pulled to represent the general characteristics
and overall quality of the flitch.
One of the more important considerations when inspecting
and selecting veneer is waste. Before being converted
to panels and plywood, veneer must be clipped along the
sides and ends. Other factors affecting waste may include
shape, holes, knots, splits and undesirable growth characteristics.
This wastage is an important factor in determining the
usable square footage and cost of the necessary amount
of veneer needed to complete a project. To absorb waste
and provide a usable product to craftspeople, some veneers
are further processed and manufactured into sheets with
a flexible backing.
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